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The framework agreement on trade cooperation of member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (EKO)

of June 6, 2000

PREAMBLE

The governments signers (further "Contracting parties") the Framework Agreement, being member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (further "EKO");

Considering the purposes and tasks of EKO stated in its Charter - the Izmir Agreement, and provisions of Strategy of Economic Cooperation for the region of EKO;

On the basis of the Teheran Communique of the 1st Meeting of country leaders top-level EKO (February, 1992), the Joint Communique and the Declaration accepted at the 2nd Summit (Istanbul, July, 1993), the Joint Communique and the Islamabad Declaration of 3rd Summit (Islamabad, March, 1995). Ashgabat Declarations of the 4th Summit and Extraordinary summits (respectively a May, 1996 and 1997) and Almaty Declaration of the 5th Summit (Almaty, May, 1998);

Aiming to expand trade cooperation of EKO for ensuring economic growth and development of all member countries that is important for stability and prosperity of the region;

Confirming the decision on creation of the mechanism of the ensuring intraregional trade meeting the international rules and standards and, in particular, emphasizing importance of ensuring trade liberalization in the region of EKO;

Encouraging intention of the member countries which joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) yet to perform necessary measures in this direction;

Recognizing need of cooperation increase, support and help to the member countries which are in process of accession to WTO;

Realizing that non-tariff barriers represent very serious obstacle to intraregional goods turnover;

Noting the significant unilateral efforts made in recent years by Contracting Parties for the purpose of liberalization of the trade and further opening of the economies;

Confirming the obligation on gradual trade liberalization taking into account factor of sensitivity of certain goods;

Considering the imperative need of assistance to the intraregional trade constituting now very small share in the total amount of trade in the region of EKO;

Having come to the decision on gradual elimination of barriers, in particular non-tariff barriers, for essential assistance to trade;

Agreed as follows:

Article 1. Principles

1. Contracting parties agree to perform intraregional trade on the principles of nondiscrimination and the equal mode in relation to each other.

2. Contracting parties will accept efforts on strengthening of trade cooperation by trade liberalization for the purpose of, mainly, support of intraregional, and also interregional trade.

3. Contracting parties will be guided by the principle of common advantage in case of implementation of measures or the initiatives directed to deepening of trade cooperation in the region of EKO.

Article 2. Spheres of trade cooperation

1. All Contracting Parties agree to take part in the Trade Agreement EKO (ECOTA) which will provide reduction of tariffs and gradual elimination of non-tariff barriers during the justified period of time. For the purpose of control, coordination and studying of the course of realization of ECOTA the Council of Ministers of trade / foreign trade will be created.

2. For support of process of trade liberalization Contracting Parties will study other spheres of cooperation.

Article 3. Negotiations on ECOTA

The group of experts at the High Level (GEVU) on tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers in the region of EKO will develop ECOTA, including methods, scope and the schedule of realization. GEVU will help Ministers of Trade (foreign trade) performed by their functions provided in Article.

Article 4. Trade cooperation of EKO in other regional and interregional organizations

For the purpose of amendment and expansion of trade cooperation between Contracting Parties and responses to fast changing conditions and tendencies in world trade Contracting Parties will regularly hold consultations for strengthening of cooperation at the regional and international levels.

Article 5. Cooperation in the field of information on trade

Contracting parties agree that the EKO information network on trade shall be created for data collection and information on structure and orientation of the foreign trade, tariff structure, trade rules and questions of insurance, banking, transport and other services. These data will be available to use of Contracting Parties by the state private organizations. The national organizations for support of trade and/or national Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Contracting Parties will be encouraged to cooperation in creation of information network.

Article 6. Trade financing

For simplification of achievement of results in the trade spheres stated in this agreement, Contracting Parties will cooperate in the direction of effective implementation of the existing trade agreements EKO and in cooperation increase in trade financing, banking and insurance.

Article 7. Technical cooperation in research and training

The contracting parties having educational and research opportunities in spheres of international trade will offer training courses, exchange of research experience and will render expanded technical assistance (for example, in type of service, the available experts and consultants) to Contracting Parties, especially Azerbaijan and the states of Central Asia (ACAMS).

Article 8. Support of trade between the state purchasing agencies

For the purpose of encouragement of intraregional trade Contracting Parties will make efforts on establishment of the relations and cooperation between the state and private enterprises.

Article 9. Council of Ministers, overview of the course of realization and monitoring

1. The Council of Ministers of trade / foreign trade will control, coordinate and study implementation of all Agreements of EKO connected with trade. The Council of Ministers can designate group of officials at the high level for the studying of the course of implementation of this Framework Agreement and other agreements arising from it, as required. The Council of Ministers, preferably, will meet once a year.

2. The chairman of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of EKO can be present at Council of Ministers as the observer.

Article 10. Settlement of disagreements

Any disagreements between Contracting Parties concerning interpretation or application of this agreement will as far as it is possible, be permitted between Contracting Parties in the friendly atmosphere. In need of disagreement will be permitted by Council of Ministers on trade / to foreign trade or the corresponding Group appointed by Council.

Article 11. Other arrangements

1. This agreement or any action taken according to it will not be reflected in the rights and obligations of Contracting Parties under any existing agreements which parties they are.

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