Recent statements by Uzbek officials have indicated a renewed interest in joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), the intergovernmental body responsible for regulating international trade and ensuring the smooth flow of trade across borders.
To increase knowledge and understanding of the WTO accession process and its potential implications for Uzbekistan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade, conducted a series of seminars to educate representatives of the Government of Uzbekistan, the private sector, and the international community on the WTO process. The seminars were led by visiting international experts with extensive experience in WTO and trade-related issues in Central Asia and throughout the world.
A clear understanding of the process will be essential for Uzbekistan as it restarts its accession efforts after an approximately 15 year hiatus. One of the highlights of the week was a Wednesday, January 24 workshop designed to educate participants on the WTO accession process and clarify misconceptions. More than 50 representatives of different government ministries attended.
Speaking at the workshop, USAID Country Director, Gary Robbins noted, “WTO membership can serve as an important signal to the world, that Uzbekistan is a member of the international trading community and that the country is, in fact, “open for business.” Uzbekistan’s accession to this body will increase access for two-way trade between Uzbekistan and other WTO members, including the United States.”
Additional events were held in cooperation with the Association of International Business (AMBiT) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Uzbekistan. The visiting experts and USAID staff also met with Uzbek Government officials to discuss future cooperation with USAID on WTO accession activities.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. WTO membership encourages greater competitiveness and trade by applying consistent application of rules and procedures throughout the world.