Kazakhstan to join World Trade Organisation after 20 years of talks

Ashley Kirk
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Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev attends a meeting in Moscow in 2011 (Source: Getty)

Kazakhstan has completed negotiations to join the World Trade Organisation, after 20 years of negotiations.

After spending the entire lifetime of the 20-year-old WTO trying to join the Geneva-based trade body, Kazakhstan is now on course to become its 162nd member.

The country's candidacy gathered momentum after Russia, its neighbour, joined in 2012. It is already part of the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, its close trade partner.

A WTO statement said a deal was agreed after the last issue between the two parties was agreed on: that of the discrepancies between its membership of the regional bloc, existing bilateral trade deals and WTO membership terms.

The details of the membership will be confidential until the WTO's General Council formally adopts the deal on June 22. It is expected to join the group later this year.

Speculation has increased that Afghanistan and Liberia could be the next countries to join, after WTO deputy director-general David Shark said they were close to agreeing membership terms earlier this month.

In order to join the WTO, a country must agree terms with every interested member, and must bring its own laws in line with WTO rules.

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