States in Central Asia have recently renewed their interest in joining global organizations such as the World Trade Organization. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, two of the more economically prosperous Central Asian states, have expressed their desire to join the WTO as they continue to position them in an ever-changing Central Asia. Uzbekistan is currently listed as an ‘observer’ nation to the WTO, though it recently outlined a series of conditions that make full accession to the WTO an enticing possibility, and two of the more interesting factors were the organization’s intrinsic ability to facilitate bilateral and multilateral trade talks with growing nations, as well as the educational value (training seminars, conferences, etc.) that is made available to WTO members.
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan will likely face criticism as they seek to increase their global presence due to the oft-cited human rights abuses and torture allegations that have come to characterize organizations. Other factors, such as corruption and unsavory economic practices such as forced takeover of private enterprises by national governments, as in the case of Uzbekistan, could nevertheless make the two nations’ desire to join the WTO more of a pipe dream than a serious possibility. The WTO has not issued statements expressing its intention to elevate the status of Uzbekistan to a full member, and Turkmenistan has not yet placed a formal bid to join the organization, though its path to accession has been laid out and in 2013 established a new state commission dedicated to joining the WTO.
Follow us on Twitter: @SteppeDispatch
- Russia’s print media has been presenting a very different set of potential causes of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, claiming it could shave been shot down by the Ukrainian military or a terrorist on board the plane itself. A popular opinion among the news outlets appears to be that a BUK surface-to-air missile system shot down the plane, which was at a cruising altitude of over 30,000 feet. The BUK is current utilized by the Ukrainian military, but mounting Western-complied evidence points to the SA-11 system that was apparently supplied to the Russian backed separatists near Donetsk.
- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said tis team of monitors was turned away from the portion of Donetsk where the wreckage from the crashed flight was strewn. However, Ukrainian separatists agreed yesterday to hand over bodies and the black boxes on the flight to Dutch authorities to placate international calls for transparency and access to the crash site. Poroshenko issued calls to international organizations and fellow legislators alike to name the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as terrorist organizations.
- Perhaps in light of the recent four month extension to nuclear talks with the P5+1 powers,Iranian Deputy oil Minister Ali Majedi confirmed his country’s determination to boost natural gas exports to European states. Noting that deals already exist with Armenia on exchanging gas for much needed electricity, he hinted that a similar arrangement could be reached with the wealthy states of the EU, who are extremely interested in diversifying their energy suppliers with Russia currently cutting off gas to Ukraine.
- As the southern border regions of Kyrgyzstan become more volatile, estimates on delimitation and demarcation of them have become more and more prolonged in recent days. Deputy Prime Minister Abdyrakhman Mamtaliev said that only 1,007 of the 1,378 kilometer Kyrgyz-Uzbek border (only 73%) has been delimited with Uzbekistan. But more than half of the 970 kilometer Kyrgyz-Tajik border remains legally undefined, making border disputes and skirmishes more likely the more it remains unclear.