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27 Dec 2016

Belarus eager to join WTO within five years on its own terms

MINSK, 27 December (BelTA) – Belarus intends to join the World Trade Organization in the current five-year term on conditions that take into account national interests. The plans are laid down by the 2016-2020 national social and economic development program, which was enacted by Belarus president decree No. 466 of 15 December 2016, BelTA has learned. The decree has been published by the national legislation website law.by.

Plans have been made to prepare the final report that will stipulate the package of Belarus’ commitments as a WTO member. Belarus’ accession to the WTO on conditions that take into account national interests will contribute to deeper integration of the country into the multilateral trade system, the expansion of the country’s foreign trade ties with WTO members, and to export development.

The main criteria of effective development of Belarus’ foreign economic operations will be an increase in the export of merchandise and services by 21-25% within five years, export growth rate that outstrips import growth rate, and the ability to export at least 65% of the industrial output every year.

There are plans to diversify Belarus’ foreign trade within the next five years. Belarus’ merchandise export will be evenly distributed between markets of the Eurasian Economic Union, the European Union, the distant-arc countries and other ones by 2020.

Plans have been made to use OAO Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus to set up an agency by late 2020 with a focus on implementing a universal state policy in using financial and non-financial export support instruments.

A national paperless trade system will be introduced in Belarus in 2020 to optimize the administration of foreign trade operations.

Systemic work will continue to remove technical barriers in trade within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and to enable the mutual recognition of conformance certificates and other documents issued by the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union, the European Union, and other countries to confirm the compliance of their products with mandatory requirements. Plans have been made to increase the timeframe for completing foreign trade operations in 2017 in order to ensure smooth foreign trade and enable competitive conditions for Belarusian commercial entities through lower administrative workload. Plans have been made to specify the timeframe for returning foreign currency proceeds into the country in contracts as from 2020.

A specialized export agency to support small and medium private companies will be established by early 2018. The agency will be authorized to form export support infrastructure in Minsk, the oblast capitals, and major cities.

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