Government Says Armenia’s WTO Entry Set for December

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government announced late on Thursday that it has at last completed the long-running accession talks with the World Trade Organization and will join the powerful global body next month.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry–the WTO’s ad hoc "working party" examining Yerevan’s membership bid decided earlier in the day to recommend the organization’s governing assembly to admit Armenia at its next session slated for December 10.

The meeting held in Geneva was attended by a high-ranking Armenian delegation led by Industry Minister Karen Chshmaritian and Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian. A foreign ministry statement cited Chshmaritian as reaffirming his country’s commitment to free trade and integration into the world economy.

The government initially hoped to secure WTO membership last month. However–that did not happen after an apparent misunderstanding between Armenian and US trade negotiators. In late September–the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) set additional membership conditions which caught the Armenian side off the guard–leading Khachatrian to publicly express his frustration.

Those conditions primarily concerned the protection of domestic and foreign intellectual property.

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