Uzbekistan resumed in an online format meeting on WTO accession

Uzbekistan and the world trade organization after nearly 15-year hiatus, resumed on Tuesday, the meeting of the joint working party on the accession of WTO, the pandemic is in the early stages it has passed in a videoconference, said Tuesday the press service of the Ministry of investment and foreign trade (MEWT) of the Republic.

Uzbekistan acquired observer status in the General agreement on tariffs and trade in June 1994, and in 1998 established a working group meeting of the country's accession to the WTO. In subsequent years, the working group met only three times, the latest in October 2005. Earlier, the foreign Ministry hoped that the working group meetings will begin in late March - early April of this year. However, due to the pandemic coronavirus in these dates meetings to resume failed.

According to the press service of the Ministry, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of investment and foreign trade of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov headed the country's delegation at the fourth meeting of the working group on accession to the WTO. The event was organized Tuesday at a special online platform in a "hybrid format": delegations of States parties to the WTO participated in a meeting in the building of the headquarters of the organization in Geneva, experts from different countries and the delegation of Uzbekistan – by video conferencing.

"Following the meeting, agreements were reached on 20 and 31 July bilateral negotiations on issues of market access of goods and services", - stated in the message in the Telegram-channel MUT.

According to the Ministry, the parties also agreed to transition to the next stage of negotiations - the preparation of the factual summary, which is the basis of the report of the working group on Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO.

According to the press service, Deputy Director General, WTO Alan Wolff welcomed the decision of Uzbekistan to resume the accession process to the organization and expressed readiness to provide all necessary support in this initiative. "Also, statements about support for the accession of Uzbekistan to WTO were made by the representatives of several other countries, regional and thematic groups," added the Ministry.

At the end of November 2017, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoev during a visit to South Korea said that the country resumed work on the accession to the WTO. In July 2019, the Uzbek side gave the WTO an updated Memorandum on the foreign trade regime for the consideration of applications for membership in the organization. According to the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan in accession to WTO intends to obtain the privileges of the emerging economies.