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Kazakhstan’s membership of the Eurasian Customs Union: Implications for trade and WTO accession

Kazakhstan membership

Kazakhstan joined the Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) with Russia and Belarus in 2010 leading to changes in Kazakhstan’s tariff schedule and non - tariff measures (NTMs). By 2015, tariffs will nearly have doubled on a trade - weighted basis from 2009. NTMs have also become more trade restrictive. This has led to some trade diversion towards ECU partners and away from other trading partners, in particular the European Union and China. Kazakhstan has been negotiating World Trade Organization (WTO) membership since 1996. Eurasian Customs Union membership has further complicated negotiations over WTO accession. Maintaining openness to trade and investment, not least the efficient sourcing of imports, will be important for Kazakhstan’s international competitiveness as it seeks to diversify the economy away from dependence on natural resources.

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