Economy, Domestic Economy

Special Body to Assist WTO Accession

Special Body to Assist WTO AccessionSpecial Body to Assist WTO Accession

Deputy minister of industries, mining and trade, Valiollah Afkhamirad says Industries Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh has called for the establishment of a “legal economic commission" to revise Iran’s foreign trade regime—the system of tariff and non-tariff barriers and export incentive—so as to facilitate the country's accession to World Trade Organization.

The commission is comprised of “economists, lawyers and international trade experts, who will update and revise the country’s foreign trade regime in accordance with contemporary [global trade] demands,” Mehr News Agency quoted the official as saying on Monday.

WTO requires any applicant country to submit a memorandum of foreign trade regime so that a working party composed of a group of representatives from different member states could discuss it with the country demanding a membership.

Tehran already submitted a memorandum in 2009, expecting it to be negotiated with WTO working party. Nonetheless, the Industries Ministry's move signals that the government wants to go down that road anew.

Afkhamirad noted that with the new revisions to Iran’s memorandum, the ministry expects joining the organization within four years, which is far earlier than what experts anticipate regarding many redundant trade-related regulations in the country.

Many experts believe that the government has to reduce 25,000-30,000 regulations regarding foreign trade down to 2,000 to prepare the economy for global interactions that, along with other preparations for WTO, would take the government years to implement.

Nematzadeh has already expressed his pro-free trade views, standing up to critics who argue that free trade would hurt domestic industries that fall short of international standards by making it impossible for them to compete in global markets.

Iran’s applications to the organization dates back to 1996. The organization’s nine-year delay to accept Iran as an observer member in 2005 have turned Iran’s accession process to one of the lengthiest in WTO’s history.

The organization's objectives entail raising living standards, full employment, expansion of production and trade, sustainable development and protecting the environment in member countries.