The European Union (EU) is ready to provide assistance to Uzbekistan on expert evaluation and recommends to consider accelerating the accession process to the World Trade Organization (WTO), said the Head of the EU delegation in Uzbekistan, Yuri Stärk.
According to him, the EU "recommends" the Uzbek partners consider accelerating the process. The EU is ready to provide assistance with expert evaluation of the extent to which sectors of Uzbek economy could be vulnerable and less competitive, when joining the WTO.
"Europe has experience in this regard. There are EU Member States, in particular, from among the Central and Eastern European countries, who already went through this, so we have experience in assessing the risks and, accordingly, we can recommend measures that would help to manage those risks,” said Stärk.
All of these issues are subject of a detailed discussion between the EU and Uzbekistan, the diplomat said. The EU representatives have repeatedly stated the principled willingness to provide appropriate assistance, if the Uzbek side will decide to start the accession.
As to the degree of readiness of Uzbekistan to join, Stärk said that this issue is studied very closely. It is possible, he said, only if there is sufficient political will on the part of the Uzbek partners to advance toward membership.
"At this stage we are still in a very early phase of development in this direction. Uzbekistan declared an interest to become a WTO member in the long run. But at this stage, the negotiations on accession to the organization are not conducted,” he added.