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6 Jan 2016

Belarus’ fast accession to WTO possible

MINSK, 6 January (BelTA) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that Belarus may join the World Trade Organization (WTO) soon, BelTA learned from the review published on the website of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cover results of Belarus’ foreign policy and the Ministry’s efforts in 2015.

The document reads: “Negotiations on Belarus’ accession to the WTO have been fully resumed. If they proceed favorably, Belarus’ prompt membership in the organization may follow.”

BelTA reported earlier that in line with Belarus president decree No. 505 on the national major monetary management guidelines for 2016 the coordination of terms of access to the Belarusian market of financial and banking services with WTO member states will be continued. The process will proceed under the aegis of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Systemic matters concerning Belarus’ accession to the WTO will also be discussed.

Progress in Belarus’ accession to the World Trade Organization was repeatedly discussed at various levels in 2015. On 30 October Yuri Ambrazevich, Belarus’ resident representative in the UN office and other international organizations in Geneva, met with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo. The sides agreed it was necessary to further accelerate the pace of Belarus’ accession to the WTO, including with stronger technical aid by the WTO Secretariat to Belarus.

In September 2015 Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei met with Chiedu Osakwe, WTO Director of the Accessions Division. Further steps concerning the organization of negotiations between Belarus and the WTO were discussed in detail. The Belarusian side confirmed its interest in finishing the negotiations on joining the international organization. It was noted that Belarus’ membership in the WTO should promote export diversification and the development of the national economy. The sides agreed a roadmap for organizing consequent negotiations and the necessary technical work, including the format of the working group on Belarus.

The World Bank believes that Belarus’ full membership in the World Trade Organization can result in a considerable increase in revenues in the medium term. The relevant statement was made by World Bank senior economist Ruslan Piontkivsky on 2 November 2015 during the presentation of the document that covered the consequences of Belarus’ accession to the WTO. “Full-value membership of Belarus in the WTO can bring about an essential increase in revenues in the medium term and the long term. The expected increase in living standards will be secured through the reduction of discriminatory and particularly non-discriminatory barriers for service providers,” the expert was quoted as saying.

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