Armenia to Become WTO Member Next July

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Prime Minister Armen Darbinian stated that Armenia will become a member of the World Trade Organization no later than next July. At a news conference Monday–the prime minister reported that the negotiations with the WTO have slowed down–as Armenia is seeking conditions which would make it possible to protect the interests of home producers.

The prime minister stressed that the 1999 draft budget provides for obtaining a 110-million dollar loan as well as a World Bank grace loan (at least $40,000,000–twice as much as last year) for structural reforms. Darbinian added that the real amount of the loan can be specified only in December at the meeting of the WB’s donors of Armenia in Paris. According to him–the loan for structural reforms is likely to amount to $57,000,000. The decision on the next amount of the ESAF loan allocated to Armenia by the International Monetary Fund is expected to be taken in mid-December.

Darbinian said that Armenia has good relations with international financial organizations. "If these organizations intend to allocate loans to any countries this year–Armenia is the first among them," he said.

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