Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ASTANA1535
2009-09-17 06:45:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Astana
Cable title:  

KAZAKHSTAN TO RESUME WTO ACCESSION TALKS SEPARATE FROM

Tags:  PGOV PREL ECON EFIN WTO RS KZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001535 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB/ESC
PLEASE PASS TO USTR

E.O. 12958: 09/17/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON EFIN WTO RS KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN TO RESUME WTO ACCESSION TALKS SEPARATE FROM
RUSSIA?

REF A. ASTANA 1509

B. MOSCOW 2372

Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland: 1.4 (B),(D)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001535

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB/ESC
PLEASE PASS TO USTR

E.O. 12958: 09/17/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON EFIN WTO RS KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN TO RESUME WTO ACCESSION TALKS SEPARATE FROM
RUSSIA?

REF A. ASTANA 1509

B. MOSCOW 2372

Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland: 1.4 (B),(D)


1. (C) SUMMARY: There are signs Kazakhstan might be willing to
resume its suspended bilateral WTO accession negotiations.
Concluding U.S.-bilateral WTO negotiations would be in our national
interest and would enhance Kazakhstan's independence and sovereignty.
END SUMMARY.


2. (C) On September 4, immediately following a meeting with the
Minister of Finance Bolat Zhamishev (reftel A),the Ambassador had an
unexpected conversation with former WTO negotiator and current
Finance Ministry Head of International Relations Sophia Isagalieva in
which she freely expressed personal frustration with the planned
Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union (RBK-CU) and what she sees as
an attempt by Prime minister Putin to enhance Russian economic
influence in Kazakhstan. Eager to provide some personal insights
into the current WTO negotiation process and the impact of the
planned RBK-CU, Isagalieva said Kazakhstani officials were "very
surprised" by the June announcement of the customs union. Isagalieva
grumped that Russia's WTO negotiations appear to be going forward
now, "but ours have stopped." Clearly concerned, Isagalieva
explained, "Kazakhstan is in deep trouble now and we don't know what
to do." When asked why she felt that the customs Union had been
announced when it was, and the underlying purpose, Isagalieva readily
attributed it to northern neighbors: "Putin wanted this as a way to
reestablish influence in Kazakhstan."


3. (C) On September 11, USDA WTO Accessions Coordinator Karina
Ramos-Hides met with Econoff to discuss recent queries from
Kazakhstani government officials about possible direct WTO
negotiations to be held on the margins of the October TIFA meeting in
Washington, DC. Ramos had spent the previous week delivering
technical seminars to an "eager and attentive" audience at the Center
for Trade Policy Development (CTPD) on sanitary and phytosanitary
certification (SPS) as part of the Embassy Science Fellows program.
(NOTE: The CTPD is considered part of the Ministry of Industry and
Trade and operates under the direction of Ministry of Industry and
Trade SPS negotiator Aray Kassebekova. Its activities are supervised
by lead WTO negotiator Vice Minister Zhanar Aitzhanova. END NOTE.)
According to Ramos, CTPD staff were told that the official deadline
for the harmonization of regulatory systems for the
Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union is January 1, 2010. However,
Ramos also reported that CTPD staff are diligently preparing for
technical tariff negotiations to be conducted in Washington in early
October. When pressed whether the technical meetings would be
relevant to the Customs Union or WTO, Ramos said that CTPD staff
would not directly answer the question, saying on that they were
"accession negotiations." (COMMENT: The indirect response from CTPD
staff would seem to indicate the practical resumption of WTO
negotiations on a technical level. END COMMENT.)


4. (C) During a September 16 meeting, OECD Deputy Secretary General
Aart de Geus briefly described to the Ambassador what he had heard of
a possible "decoupling" from Russia and the likely restart of
independent WTO negotiations. According to de Geus, who cited
unnamed Kazakhstani officials with whom he had met earlier in the
week, Kazakhstan has been frustrated by a lack of action on the part
of the lead Russian WTO negotiator and is planning to reinvigorate
its accession talks separate from the Customs Union.


5. (C) COMMENT: We note in reftel B Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Igor Shuvalov's comment that Russia might be willing to postpone the
entry-into-force of the RBK-CU by a year or two to allow time for
Russia to enter the WTO first. If so, that would give a new window
of opportunity to conclude accession talks for Kazakhstan. Should
this happen, Astana would press hard for what it perceives are its
interests, and high-level direction would be needed on our part.
Concluding U.S.-bilateral WTO negotiations would be in our national

ASTANA 00001535 002 OF 002


interest and would enhance Kazakhstan's independence and sovereignty.
END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND