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Opinions & Interviews

2 Nov 2017

Belarus’ accession to WTO ‘may take two years’

Belarus’ accession to WTO ‘may take two years’

MINSK, 2 November (BelTA) – Belarus’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) may take up to two years, BelTA learned from Kemal Madenoglu, chairman of the working party on Belarus’ accession to the WTO, Turkey’s permanent representative to the WTO, on 2 November.

Kemal Madenoglu said: “Belarus’ accession to the WTO is going very well taking into account the increased attention of President Alexander Lukashenko. All government agencies, including the interagency commission and ministries, work hard. Results will be seen in Geneva soon. If the interest, if the involvement of Belarusian agencies in accession to the WTO remains stable, accession may happen in two years.”

In his words, WTO member states are interested in getting Belarus to clearly understand the requirements and rules that work inside the organization. Preparations for accession to the WTO focus heavily on rules of export and import inside the system with emphasis on the Eurasian Economic Union and taking into account the domestic economic situation in Belarus, the investment climate, and other peculiarities.

“The beginning of the vigorous and positive final negotiation process taking into account opinions of WTO members is an important moment. New members, which support Belarus’ accession to the WTO, have joined in the process. It is necessary to keep up the effort,” noted Kemal Madenoglu.

Kemal Madenoglu also stressed that, on the one hand, WTO rules limit one’s ability to act, on the other hand, they open up great opportunities. The rules make a country predictable for investors, positively influencing the vigorousness of business development investments. “Taking into account the strong significance of the private sector for the Belarusian economy, we understand it will face difficulties arising from the need to follow certain rules. At the same time the experience of working in the Eurasian Economic Union can be drawn upon. WTO accession comes with multiple positive effects. It opens new opportunities for exporting merchandise,” concluded Kemal Madenoglu.

On 2 November Kemal Madenoglu intends to meet with representatives of Belarusian non-governmental organizations, which are members of the interagency commission on Belarus’ accession to the WTO, and with representatives of business circles. The involvement of the organizations and business associations in the negotiation process and WTO membership’s influence on small and medium business are high on the agenda of the meeting.


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