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Opinions & Interviews

5 Nov 2018

Belarus’ plans to join WTO in 2020 described as ‘ambitious yet feasible’

Belarus’ plans to join WTO in 2020 described as ‘ambitious yet feasible’

MINSK, 5 November (BelTA) – Belarus may join the World Trade Organization as early as in 2020. The date was mentioned by Director of the Accessions Division of the WTO Secretariat Maika Oshikawa in her speech during the economic forum KEF 2018 on 5 November, BelTA has learned.

The WTO representative said: “As far as schedules and dates are concerned, last week I heard very gratifying news from the prime minister [of Belarus], who had set 2020 as the reference point. It is quite a strong signal to all the WTO members that you are very seriously determined.”

Maika Oshikawa said she believes that Belarus’ goal is rather ambitious, yet quite feasible. “Looking at the team of Belarusian negotiators, at what they have accomplished in the last two years, I feel certain confidence that Belarus can do everything,” said the WTO representative.

In her words, apart from Belarus over 20 countries are now in the process of joining the WTO, however, the Belarusian negotiation team is one of the most respected ones and it is very seriously treated by all the WTO members.

Maika Oshikawa noted that Belarus has a number of things it needs to address. In particular, the country has yet to finish negotiations with all the WTO members. Besides, there are issues concerning price regulations. Phytosanitary and sanitary measures are viewed as kind of barriers, too.

Belarusian First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Yeudachenka took part in the discussion. He noted that when WTO accession was being discussed at a government conference hosted by the head of state, it was noted that Belarus has done more work in the last two years than in the 23 years before that. In his words, Belarus has yet to conclude negotiations with seven countries. “We hope we will manage to finish talks with all partners, except for the USA possibly,” said Andrei Yeudachenka. “We have reasons to believe that we will go our part of the way by next autumn.”

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