The World Trade Organization (WTO) approved granting Turkmenistan observer status.
Turkmenistan, a Central Asian state with around 6.2 million inhabitants, thus became the last former Soviet Republic to establish a formal relationship with the Organization.
Turkmenistan submitted its application for observer status in May 2020, indicating its intention to start negotiations for accession to the WTO within five years.
On behalf of all delegations, the President of the General Council, Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand, welcomed the meeting of the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan in Geneva, Atageldi Haljanov, and invited him to speak as a new observer government.
Haljanov thanked members and emphasized the importance of the Organization as the platform for further integration of Turkmenistan into the world economy and trade.
“The growing trends of economic globalization in the modern world have set Turkmenistan to actively integrate into the world economy and the system of international economic relations,” he said.
The representative of Turkmenistan described the concrete benefits that future WTO membership would bring to his country, such as strengthening its foreign trade position and providing guarantees and transparency for investors and trading partners.
Turkmenistan will take full advantage of the opportunities of observer status to familiarize itself with the WTO rules and procedures, he added.
Other matters of the General Council
On other matters discussed at the General Council, Walker said he was continuing consultations with members on the date and venue of the next WTO Ministerial Conference.
Walker noted that while delegations welcomed Kazakhstan’s renewed offer to host the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June 2021, concern was expressed about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which was still uncertain, and that any date established at this stage would need to be considered a “working hypothesis”, subject to continuous evaluation and review as conditions become clearer as time approaches.
MC12 was originally scheduled to take place in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan from June 8-11, 2020, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Kazakhstan informed WTO members in late April that it was still ready to host MC12 in June 2021 in Nur-Sultan and asked the President of the General Council to consult with WTO members on his proposal.