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Opinions & Interviews

22 Jan 2019

Belarus-USA WTO talks to resume after shutdown

Belarus-USA WTO talks to resume after shutdown

MINSK, 22 January (BelTA) – Belarus plans to resume bilateral talks with the USA on its accession to the World Trade Organization after the government shutdown in the United States is over, Belarus’ Deputy Economy Minister Dmitry Yaroshevich told reporters on 22 January. He is taking part in the national seminar on the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), BelTA has learned.

Dmitry Yaroshevich noted that another round of talks and the Meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Belarus to the WTO will be held in Geneva in February. “The agenda has not been finalized yet because of the government shutdown in America which is one of the partners with whom we need to round off the talks. As soon as the United States government is back to work, we will embark on talks on our accession to the WTO,” the deputy minister said.

Vladimir Serpikov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Head of the Negotiations Delegation of Belarus on the accession to the WTO, noted that Belarus has already rounded off talks on the access to the market of services with nine WTO members. Talks are underway with another four WTO members (the European Union, the United States, Canada and Ukraine). Vladimir Serpikov noted that not all countries put forward requests regarding the access to the markets of services.

Minsk is hosting a national seminar on the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services on 22-24 January. The seminar is organized by the Economy Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus jointly with the WTO Secretariat with support of the UNDP project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise”.

The seminar is designed to improve the skills and knowledge of Belarusian government officials involved in talks on the access to the market of services in the context of the WTO accession. The seminar aims to improve understanding of the structure, functioning, obligations and principles of the General Agreement on Trade in Services with a focus on specific obligations related to the access to the market of services.

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