Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Iran's top WTO negotiator disappointed

IranMania News: "Iran's top WTO negotiator disappointed

Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

LONDON, Dec 21 (IranMania) - Iran's top WTO negotiator said that the Islamic state had expected the organization to vote for the start of its membership talks following the groundbreaking nuclear agreement it reached with the EU3 last month.

The US vetoed Iran's 20th bid for talks on its WTO membership earlier this month.

Esfandiar Ommidbakhsh, Iran's plenipotentiary representative to the World Trade Organization, further told the Seminar on Iran's WTO Accession that the country's economic and security conditions are not comparable to those of Iraq and Afghanistan, stressing that the two war-torn countries have managed to get their accession talks started while Iran's request remains on hold for purely political reasons.

He said Iran has embarked on various key research projects in agriculture, services, communications, banking, automotive, chemical and textile sectors, stressing that the Khatami administration has set up several committees in which 15 ministers share their views on ways to improve the national economy.

Also speaking at the seminar was former World Trade Organization (WTO) director general, Mike Moore, who advised Iran not to wait until its membership request is approved.

"Countries which have managed to join WTO today began the process long ago," he said, adding that South Korea has turned from an impoverished East Asian nation to a wealthy country in the past 40 years.

He said Japan, which was devastated during World War II, also managed to get its economy back on its feet to become the world's second biggest economy after the US.

Moore had said last week that economic reforms could help improve Iran's economy far more than the country's accession to WTO.

He also said although WTO entry is essential, it would be more beneficial for Asian economies to embark, first and foremost, on economic reforms.

He said countries which could join the WTO rapidly were those whose political leaders are resolved to traverse the path of membership.

Moore did not respond to Iran Daily's question about the possible impact of Iran's WTO accession on US economic sanctions against the Islamic state."


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