Trade Policy Review of the Kyrgyz Republic
Statement by the U.S. Representative
May 18, 2021
Thank you, Chair. The United States is pleased to welcome Deputy Minister Seit and the rest of the Kyrgyz Republic delegation to the third Trade Policy Review of the Kyrgyz Republic. We welcome the Secretariat and Government Reports and appreciate the opportunity to gain a clearer sense of the changes to the Kyrgyz Republic’s trade and investment policies since its last review in 2014.
In 1998, the Kyrgyz Republic was the first country from the Commonwealth of Independent States to accede to the WTO. Since then, it has established itself as an important Member of the WTO community by contributing to WTO committee work and negotiations. However, we note that according to the Government Report, “since 2015, the main direction in the trade policy of the Kyrgyz Republic has been associated with the processes of regional economic integration within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).”
Several of the questions that we submitted in writing for this Trade Policy Review seek information on how the Kyrgyz Republic will ensure that the process of adopting EAEU regulations complies with WTO provisions and commitments. For example, we hope to gain additional insights into how EAEU regulations are being applied in the process of custom valuations and the adoption of Intellectual Property regulations. We also have some concerns about some existing compliance issues in the Kyrgyz Republic’s current trade policy, such as the exports incentives being provided in the textiles and dairy sectors. In addition, we see that notifications are long overdue in numerous areas. Notifications are a central way for WTO Members to understand and monitor developments in one another’s trade policy. In particular, we are requesting details for the regulations regarding food safety. Additionally, we look forward to more detailed information on the Kyrgyz Republic’s State Owned Enterprises (SOE) privatization program, harmonization with international standards, and export subsidies.
The United States and the Kyrgyz Republic enjoy a partnership across a range of issues based on shared values and principles. Our governments regularly consult with each other on issues of mutual importance and both recognize the value of continued cooperation on issues such as international trade. In March 2021, our two governments met as part of the U.S.-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meetings. We discussed with our Kyrgyz counterparts ways to work toward enhancing regional trade and deepening our bilateral trade relationship. The United States has a bilateral investment treaty with the Kyrgyz Republic and provides Generalized System of Preferences benefits to its traders.
The United States provides various forms of technical and foreign assistance to help the Kyrgyz Government and economic operators in the Kyrgyz Republic to further develop the economy and take advantage of trade opportunities. Under the TIFA working groups, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program has provided the Kyrgyz Republic with assistance on customs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, standards, and intellectual property rights. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) assists the Kyrgyz Government in the implementation of its economic policy reform agenda to promote business development, economic growth, and job creation. USAID is working in the areas of energy and agricultural trade, among others.
In closing, I would like to emphasize that the Kyrgyz Republic is a valued partner of the United States, and that our cooperation in the WTO is an important element of our partnership. We look forward to working closely with the Kyrgyz Republic at the WTO, including to reform the WTO so that it is viable forum for meaningful negotiations. We wish the Kyrgyz Republic a productive dialogue during this Trade Policy Review and we thank the delegation for its attention to our questions.