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United States and Kazakhstan Sign Bilateral Agreement that will Open Markets, Support American Jobs

09/22/2011

Washington, D.C. – This Week, as part of Kazakhstan’s negotiations to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and Minister of Economic Integration Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Zhanar Aitzhanova signed a WTO bilateral market access agreement. The agreement signed on Wednesday will allow U.S. service providers to benefit from significantly expanded opportunities in Kazakhstan’s markets once it joins the WTO. U.S. businesses will be able to continue to expand in Kazakhstan in sectors where the United States is a world leader, including energy, financial services, movies and television, express delivery, and computer services.

"Kazakhstan’s desire to join the World Trade Organization demonstrates its commitment to the international trading system and to its own broad-based economic reform and trade liberalization,” said Ambassador Marantis. “Upon Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO, United States services suppliers will benefit from increased opportunities to provide a wide range of services in Kazakhstan, as well as an improved environment for doing business, which will support jobs here in America.”

“I commend Minister Aitzhanova and her team for their tireless work over the last year to complete this negotiation process,” Marantis added. “We are eager to work with Kazakhstan and other WTO members in Geneva on the remaining multilateral issues to finalize Kazakhstan’s WTO accession process.”

Background:

President Obama and Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev have pledged their strong support for completion of Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO as soon as possible. Upon accession, Kazakhstan will have to comply with WTO rules on international trade issues such as protection of intellectual property rights, agriculture, application of technical standards, and food safety.

Accession negotiations proceed on two tracks: (1) bilaterally for terms of market access, i.e., the best commitments made in bilateral negotiations on market access for goods, agriculture and services; and (2) multilaterally on Kazakhstan’s commitments to revise and apply its trade regime to comply with WTO rules on agricultural trade, customs procedures, protection of intellectual property rights, treatment of state-owned or -controlled enterprises, transparency, and other issues. Following yesterday’s conclusion of Kazakhstan’s bilateral services agreement with the United States, the focus will now shift to the multilateral negotiations at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland.