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Kazakhstan may join the World Trade Organization (WTO) following nearly 18 years of accession talks.
"Kazakhstan is at an advanced stage of its accession negotiation. My guess is that this could be doable this year," WTO director general Pascal Lamy said on the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum in Moscow in Mid-January.
Kazakhstan applied to join the WTO in 1996. The membership is expected to boost the economy of the oil-rich Central Asian state by opening it to foreign investors.
Kazakhstan's neighbor Russia was admitted to the organization in August 2012.