Kazakhstan is now at a crucial stage of negotiations to join the World Trade Organization, and is likely to become the Organisation's member-state in the next six months.
However, it is still necessary to get the best conditions for the entry, which was stressed by the Minister of Economic Integration Zhanar Aitzhanova, speaking at a forum on economic policy, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce, Caspionet reports.
She explained that Kazakhstan asks for a transitional period on a number of issues including the harmonization of customs duties between Russia and Kazakhstan. The Republic wants to retain the existing tariff rates on imports of medicine, cars, and duties in the field of passenger transport. Another important issue is about keeping subsidies for farmers for a few years, especially for those producing export-oriented products.
Kazakhstanalso tries to get conservation for transportation costs subsidies for grain producers, which is opposed by competitor countries. Being a landlocked country, Kazakhstan spends 136 US dollars per one tonne of grain, to deliver it to the nearest port, whereas the USA, Australia and China spend only 17 to 40 US dollars. Subsidies for farmers still remain the main point in the negotiations on the accession to the WTO.
"It is important that we can provide the volumes in the form of subsidies or grants for the development of the agricultural sector. Forty-six percent of the population live in the rural area and agriculture is their daily source of income, which is why their welfare is directly related to the competitiveness of their products. The state allocates subsidies to provide price support for our producers. Therefore, it is very important that we stand up for the goals that we have put in the negotiation process, the figures that we count," said Zhanar Aitzhanova, Kazakh Minister of Economic Integration.