Delivered by Ambassador Michael Punke
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Permanent Representative to the WTO
July 27, 2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On behalf of the United States, I first want to express our honor and privilege in hearing the statement from President Nazerbaev. It has been a long journey for Kazakhstan to complete accession negotiations, and this day should be a momentous one in Kazakhstan’s history. Mr. President, your presence here today appropriately completes this journey. The United States’ relationship with Kazakhstan has long been a strong one across so many fronts, due in large part to your direct personal involvement, and we look forward to a future of working together in the WTO.
With the General Council decision here today, Kazakhstan will enter the final stage of becoming a full-fledged Member of the WTO. We look forward to congratulating you later this year in Nairobi at the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference when we expect Kazakhstan to participate side-by-side with us in concluding a successful Nairobi outcome. Kazakhstan’s hard work stands as an important reminder for all of us of the importance of the institution of the WTO – and the value that Membership in it offers.
I also want to offer special congratulations to Minister Aitzhanova and her whole team. My team and I know how well served you have been by their hard work, determination, and commitment, even as negotiations confronted extremely complicated issues. In retrospect, we believe that you will be able to confirm that it was all worth the effort, as Kazakhstan undertakes critical domestic reforms, broadens and expands its trading relationships across the spectrum of WTO Membership, and assumes an important role in helping to bring the WTO Membership together to realize future successes.
Again, on behalf of the United States, we offer our hearty and heartfelt congratulations.