Timeline: 2005 – 2011
Donor: Switzerland (SECO)
Tajikistan submitted its application for membership to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in May 2001. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime was submitted to the WTO in February 2003. After several periods of deadlocks, the negotiating process picked up significantly in 2011-2012 and Tajikistan finally became the 159th Member of the WTO on 2 March 2013.
Switzerland supported Tajikistan’s accession process since 2001 through two projects implemented by UNITAR from 2001 to 2004. Starting from 2005, IDEAS Centre was mandated to implement the third phase of this project. The latter was extended several times and ended on 30 June 2011.
The overarching goals of the project were:
- To facilitate Tajikistan’s re-integration into the multilateral trading system, as a mean to foster trade and investment with its regional and global partners.
- To build up a development-conducive trade policy.
Specifically, the project pursued three major objectives:
- Improving the capacity of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) with a view to negotiate effectively and efficiently its accession both on the multilateral and bilateral basis.
- Contributing to the development of a trade policy decision-making process and a strong and coherent negotiating capacity through general and specific training, e.g. through the establishment of a functional consultation system with all stakeholders.
- Contributing to raise the awareness and the understanding amongst all stakeholders on the significance and implications of the accession to the WTO as well as to encourage their inclusion in the overall process.
“Starting from 2005, IDEAS Centre was mandated to implement the third phase of this project. The latter was extended several times and ended on 30 June 2011.”
- The project helped the Government in preparing the Working Party meetings and in improving the performance of the Tajik delegation at the meetings in Geneva. This included extensive work on Q&A documents, factual summaries, draft elements of the Working Party reports, questionnaires, but also providing a general policy advice on the instruments and goals of Tajik trade policies.
- At the same time the project provided assistance in the preparation and execution of bilateral negotiations: offers in goods and services were prepared, reviewed, analysed, improved and agreed upon with the MEDT before submission. The assistance was provided before and after the negotiating meetings.
- The monitoring of WTO legal compatibility was granted punctually. Inputs and comments to existing and draft legislations were provided to the MEDT and other line ministries.
- Three officials from the WTO unit of the MEDT were trained at IDEAS Centre, and the rest of the inter-ministerial commission also attended seminars and were trained following the learning-by-doing principle.
- A functional two-tier inter-ministerial commission was developed and formed.
- The dialogue with the private sector, academia and the public was substantially improved during the duration of the project, thanks to many types of different consultations with all stakeholders.
- The project was engaged in providing frequent training sessions and dialogue on all issues at hand in the negotiations. A considerable amount of work was carried out following the learning-by doing principle with Tajikistan’s officials in all agencies in charge of the WTO accession.