Two more countries ask for initial negotiating right from Azerbaijan

By: Nigar Orujova

Dominican Republic and Honduras are the latest countries wishing to obtain initial negotiating right from Azerbaijan as part of negotiations to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev said on August 20.

The initial negotiating right gives the applicant countries the right to be the first to negotiate on the issue if they decide to change tariffs on some headings.

If a country that previously granted trade concessions for a particular product decides to cancel or change them, it must first negotiate a WTO member that has initial negotiating rights to this product, as well as those members, that are the principal suppliers of goods, and consult with other members having a substantial interest in this product.

“We are currently studying this issue, because such a right cannot be given to all countries,” Mammadguliyev said. “We will study to see on which goods we can provide such a right. We will make a decision based on this study.”

According to the study, the initial negotiating right is given to a country whose share of exported goods in total exceeds 30 percent of its import.

Dominican and Honduras have joined the negotiation process recently.

“They want access to the market of Azerbaijan, regardless of distance that is more than 10,000 km, which is making difficult trade relations with these countries,” he said.

The State Customs Committee reports that the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the Dominican Republic has increased by 34.2 percent and made 15,350 in the first half of 2014. The entire volume of trade relations fell on imported goods.

Trade operations with Honduras were not registered this year. Last year, import of the production from this country stood at $110.

Azerbaijan began consultations with WTO in 2004. The working group on Azerbaijan at the WTO Secretariat was established on July 16, 1997.

Since then, Azerbaijan has been invited to attend the World Trade Organisation meetings as an observer.

Currently, Azerbaijan is in the process of negotiations with the U.S., Japan, Brazil, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, European Union, Norway, India, South Korea, Taiwan Province of China, Canada, Switzerland, and Honduras to join the WTO.

Talks have been completed and related protocols have already been signed with Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan.