YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"We hope that Armenia will join the World Trade Organization by the time the new round of talks on the reconsideration of the WTO legal basis is to begin," Minister of Industry and Trade Karen Chshmaritian told a press conference Tuesday.
According to him–after the revision of the WTO legal basis–Armenia will have to make extra efforts to conduct new negotiations in new conditions.
At the same time–according to Chshmaritian–if Armenia’should have to continue negotiations after the next round of talks–it will not mean that the country’s admission will drag out for years–but rather several months. The term and likelihood of admission depends on how far Armenia’s legislation is adjusted to international norms–he noted If a positive decision on Armenia’s WTO membership is made on the basis of a consensus–Armenia will ratify the WTO’s 19 agreemen’s.
According to Chshmaritian–the laws on monopoly regulation–free competition protection–domestic market protection–and anti-dumping submitted by the Ministry of Industry to the Government have not been adopted yet. A package of customs laws is already under discussion at the National Assembly.
Armenia has yet to conduct negotiations with the European Union–Australia–the United States–and Canada. The minister expects the issue of customs dues–which is to be discussed with Canada and the US–to be settled very quickly. It should be mentioned that negotiations with the US in the sphere of commodities are through. Terms on agriculture and services are currently under discussion.
Armenia’signed protocols on the completion of bilateral negotiations within the framework of the WTO with Switzerland–Mexico–Bulgaria–Poland–Uruguay and other countries.
According to the minister–after being admitted to the WTO–Armenia will become a peer to the organization’s 150 member-countries applying ‘the most favored nations regime’ in relations with one another.
Asked to name the country’s industries or companies that will have to reduce their activities–the minister said: "The industry is so reduced that there is no going lower." According to him–WTO membership will not contribute to reduction–for example of the food industry–which has great export potential and will continue to develop. According to him–the products of the mining-metallurgical and chemical industries already now can stand competition on foreign markets–and some Armenian goods will be competitive also within the next 20-30 years.