Kazakhstan has joined the WTO after almost 20 years of negotiations.

The country’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev hailed the accession as “historic”, claiming that the move would allow it further access to foreign markets and “consumers with a wide selection of goods and services”.

Meanwhile the WTO’s director-general Roberto Azevêdo praised the “untiring efforts of the government of Kazakhstan” and said it will “provide a boost to Kazakhstan’s economy for years to come”.

However, analysts were less convinced that the move will have a significant material impact on the Kazakh economy, particularly given the country’s dependence on oil and gas, the export of which will not be majorly impacted by the accession.

“A large share of Kazakhstan’s exports are oil and gas, which are already traded at zero – or near-zero – tariffs,” Liza Ermolenko of Capital Economics tells GTR.

Energy products currently account for 59% of Kazakhstan’s exports, but the second largest exports sector – ferrous metals – may enjoy more benefit, since it often trades at a tariff. And while import tariffs will fall away gradually, it should see Kazakhs enjoy cheaper imports in the long-term.

The country’s WTO membership was first discussed in 1996, and despite becoming the 162nd member, there are remaining concerns over its membership of the Russia-backed Eurasian Economic Union and over its plans to continue to subsidise its agricultural sector.

Russia formally acceded to the WTO in August 2012, after similarly lengthy negotiations. Along with China, it has subsequently been one of the most frequent users of the WTO’s dispute mechanism, which allows nations to bring charges of unfair competition and market distortion to a panel of arbiters.

Kazakhstan’s official membership will commence in December 2015. In the interim, it’s expected that the exact detail and conditionality of Kazakhstan’s membership will be ironed out.