Turkmenistan will officially start talks to join to the World Trade Organization after WTO General Council on Wednesday agreed to establish a Working Party to oversee negotiations between the country and other organization members.
Ambassador Dacio Castillo of Honduras, Chair of the WTO General Council, congratulated the government of Turkmenistan on the successful establishment of the Working Party and the "start of its accession journey."
The WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the decision to establish a working party "marks a significant step in Turkmenistan's relationship with the multilateral trading system".
"Turkmenistan's request to start accession negotiations is the result of years of intensive domestic work, complemented by assistance from partners and the WTO Secretariat to understand the benefits of the accession process and eventually WTO membership," Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. "By creating a working party for Turkmenistan's accession, the General Council has now completed the WTO accession map in Central Asia, one of our most active regions for expanding membership".
Ambassador Atageldi Haljanov, Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, expressed gratitude to WTO members for supporting and accepting his country’s application for WTO accession.
"Turkmenistan’s decision to become an acceding country at the WTO demonstrates the country’s objective to adhere to the rules of the multilateral trading system and shows the strong commitment of the government of Turkmenistan to become a full-fledged member of the WTO and jointly work with its member states," Haljanov stated.
A number of WTO members took the floor to voice their support for Turkmenistan's application and the establishment of the Working Party. Turkmenistan was invited to consult with the WTO Secretariat regarding further procedures and basic documentation to be considered by the Working Party.
In addition to Turkmenistan, 23 countries and territories are currently in the process of negotiating their WTO membership.