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Opinions & Interviews

12 Dec 2019

EU welcomes Belarus’ political will to join WTO

GENEVA, 12 December (BelTA) – The European Union welcomes Belarus' strong political will to join the World Trade Organization, representatives of the Permanent Mission of the European Union to the World Trade Organization said at the meeting with experts and journalists that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in the headquarters of the Permanent Mission of the European Union to the World Trade Organization on 12 December, BelTA has learned.

The representatives of the mission said that they see a strong political will of Belarus to join the World Trade Organization. This is very important, because if a country talks about its accession plans, but does not have the political will to do it, the process might take a lifetime.

At present the accession process is rather difficult and requires substantial changes in national legislations because they should be brought into line with the WTO fundamental principles.

Bilateral talks of the European Union (all of its member states are WTO members) with Belarus are focused on two major areas – trade in goods and trade in services.

The most debatable points in the Belarus-EU bilateral talks on the trade in goods are import licensing, export duties and export bans for a number of products. As for the EU-Belarus multilateral talks, the most sensitive issues have to do with phytosanitary norms for agricultural products and technical barriers.

The EU mission called Belarus' membership in the Eurasian Economic Union one of the most difficult points of the negotiating process, as Belarus has to reconcile its commitments with its EAEU partners. By the way, after Belarus joins the WTO, all the EAEU participating states will be WTO members.

The World Trade Organization was established in 1995 with a view to liberalizing international trade and regulating trade and political relations of the member states. Nowadays 164 countries are WTO members.

The meeting took place as part of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation's dialogue program. According to the organizers, it is important in the present-day conditions to maintain a meaningful and constructive multilateral dialogue to discuss the international economic agenda and reach a consensus.

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