Wednesday, 13 March 2002

TAJIKISTAN ON THE WAY TO THE W.T.O.

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By Konstantin Parshin (3/13/2002 issue of the CACI Analyst)

The Republic of Tajikistan has the lowest GDP per capita among the CIS countries. According to the latest UN Human Development Report, average salaries are less than $10 a month in nominal terms. More than 80 percent of the population can be classified as poor and 20 percent as extremely poor.

The Republic of Tajikistan has the lowest GDP per capita among the CIS countries. According to the latest UN Human Development Report, average salaries are less than $10 a month in nominal terms. More than 80 percent of the population can be classified as poor and 20 percent as extremely poor. The total cost of the damage inflicted by the civil war (1992-1997) is estimated at more than $7 billion. Hostilities in some regions lasted for quite a while even after the Peace Accord was signed between the warring fractions, which impeded the rehabilitation of infrastructure as well as assistance to the country by international relief agencies. 

Poverty reduction has become a priority for the government; and for that it has been receiving support from international monetary institutions. In the last four years, Tajikistan has made some strides towards a market economy and has achieved a relative macroeconomic stabilization. Being a full-fledged member of the United Nations, Tajikistan has joined major international conventions, treaties and agreements. In June 2001, the World Trade Organization accepted Tajikistan’s application on accession. 

Last year, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) was the facilitator of this workshop organized for ministerial officials forming a special working group responsible for the preparation of documents and further negotiations on accession. Since then, UNITAR has held three training seminars for the Tajik government officials and Ministries in Dushanbe on Accession to the WTO. “At the very first stage, Tajikistan must bring its legislation in conformity with the multilateral trading system”, says Dr. Ake Lindman, former Deputy General Secretary of the WTO Secretariat, and presently a Special Senior Fellow of UNITAR. “It will give Tajikistan possibilities to conclude multilateral bargains and to feel secure in settling trade disputes. The country will participate in all kinds of meetings, defending its economic interests. In other words, being a WTO member, a small country will freely operate on the world market with a great deal of partners, and will even exercise some influence in the world trade arena”. Besides that, it is acknowledged that foreign investors prefer to invest in the economies of WTO member countries.

According to the WTO (and GATT, its predecessor) agreements, a number of privileges are given to developing countries in general, and to the economies in transition in particular. Tajikistan falls into these categories. An accessing country has the right to negotiate reasonable tariff concessions and to reserve some trade barriers in order to protect its economy. For the time being, WTO numbers 144 members; 28 countries, those having submitted their applications, are in the process of negotiations on accession. 

Konstantin Parshin
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The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.

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