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Kazakhstan identified key priorities of 12th WTO Ministerial Conference

30 January 2021 13:01

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM On 29th January, Minister of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan Bakhyt Sultanov took part in an Informal meeting of trade ministers of the World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries in a virtual format, organized by the Government of Switzerland.

The Ministers gathered to discuss the key priorities of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to promote recovery from the pandemic crisis, as well as the necessary conditions for achieving meaningful results on the Organization's current agenda, including the conclusion of negotiations on a Fisheries Subsidy Agreement, the official website of the Ministry of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan reads.

The event was opened by the President of Switzerland, G. Parmelin, and the European Union Commissioner for Trade, V. Dombrovskis, the Minister of Economic Development of Russia, M. Reshetnikov, and the Minister of Commerce of China, V.Wang, Minister of Trade of the Republic of Korea M. Yu, Deputy Director General of the WTO A. Wolf. In general, the event was held with the participation of trade ministers and heads of representative offices to the WTO in Geneva from 36 countries.

Minister of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan Bakhyt Sultanov in his speech stressed that at a critical time for the multilateral trading system and during the global pandemic, joint efforts to intensify work on WTO reform and achieve meaningful progress in the ongoing negotiations are important.

Sultanov noted the need to fully restore the activities of the WTO judicial body and further improve the activities of the Appellate Body.

The recovery of the global economy and trade, as well as sustainable global economic growth in the post-crisis period, will be facilitated by new global trade rules in the areas of e-commerce, investment promotion, and domestic regulation of services.

In particular, the Minister stressed that the pandemic has revealed a serious potential for the development of e-commerce and growing opportunities for businesses and consumers. The development of a new e-Commerce Agreement is proceeding intensively and there are good prospects for concrete solutions in this direction during the MC-12.

This industry is also developing dynamically in the kazakh economy. In particular, during the period of quarantine measures, e-commerce became the most profitable sector, as a result of which the volume of the e-commerce market for the first 1 half of 2020 amounted to 435 billion tenge.

The new WTO plurilateral Rules on Domestic Regulation of the service sector are aimed at ensuring a predictable business climate by increasing the transparency of the conditions for doing business in the service sector.

Minister Sultanov informed that Kazakhstan is making a significant contribution to the successful conclusion of negotiations and the adoption of new Rules in the field of services during the upcoming WTO Conference, and therefore recently submitted to the Organization its List of Services, which implements the future rules. In doing so, we joined 60 other WTO members, which together account for 73% of global trade in services.

The Minister stressed that the new Rules in the service sector will contribute to improving the investment climate and the development of the service sector. Since Kazakhstan's accession to the WTO, over the past three years, there has been a positive trend in attracting foreign investment in the service sector, which has increased to 30%. In general, the share of the service sector in Kazakhstan's GDP is about 56%.

In addition, as a fulfillment of obligations in the financial sector, after a 5-year transition period, from December 16, 2020, Kazakhstan provides foreign investors with the opportunity to open direct branches of banks and insurance organizations to work in the country along with subsidiaries.

In addition, Kazakhstan, as the largest landlocked country and Chair of the global Group of landlocked developing countries, is particularly interested in protecting the interests of this group of countries, and therefore calls for the conclusion of negotiations on a multilateral Agreement on fisheries subsidies.

Following the meeting, the WTO Trade Ministers agreed to strengthen efforts to reform the Organization and prepare substantive decisions for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.