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MOSCOW, January 17 RIA Novosti) – Kazakhstan may join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2013, WTO Director-General Pascal Lami said on Thursday.
Kazakhstan is currently at an advanced stage of WTO entry negotiations and could complete accession this year, Lami said on the sidelines of the Gaidar economic forum in Moscow.
Belarus is at a less advanced stage of WTO negotiations, Lami said, adding he could not specify a timeframe for its entry into the WTO.
The ex-Soviet states of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are members of the Customs Union and need to exist within a single trading regime. Russia has been a WTO member for several months now and Kazakhstan and Belarus are de facto forced to comply with many WTO norms, Lami said.
Russia officially joined the WTO in August 2012 after 18 years of negotiations, becoming the global trade body’s 156th member.
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New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.