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WTO approves Kazakhstan’s membership

BERLIN — Kazakhstan is set to become the 162nd member of the World Trade Organization after the Geneva-based body formally approved the country’s membership Monday.

The President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, left, and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Mr. Roberto Azevedo, right, show the panel after signing on the accession of Kazakhstan to the WTO during a final ceremony as Kazakhstan becomes a member, at WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday. ( Sandro Campardo/Pool Photo via AP)

The President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, left, and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Mr. Roberto Azevedo, right, show the panel after signing on the accession of Kazakhstan to the WTO during a final ceremony as Kazakhstan becomes a member, at WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday. ( Sandro Campardo/Pool Photo via AP)

The largest former Soviet republic in Central Asia is rich in natural resources and a key transit country for goods between Asia and Europe.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev says Kazakhstan is committed to opening up its financial and telecommunications sectors as agreed during its 19-year accession process.

Nazarbayev says his country hopes that joining the WTO will encourage foreign investment.

Kazakhstan, which has suffered from the economic downturn in neighboring Russia, must still ratify the membership agreement in its national Parliament by the end of October.