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Opinions & Interviews

4 Sep 2018

FM: Final decision on Belarus’ WTO entry to be taken once talks are over

FM: Final decision on Belarus’ WTO entry to be taken once talks are over

MINSK, 4 September (BelTA) - The final decision on Belarus' accession to the World Trade Organization will be made after the negotiation process is over, Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview with Belarus 1 TV channel on 4 September, BelTA informs.

“Over the past year and a half we have made serious progress [in the negotiations on the WTO entry]. This topic was also discussed with the head of state today. The Belarusian leader was briefed that we have signed eight protocols with the relevant states regarding our accession to the WTO over the past year and a half. Now we have a total of 18 protocols. This work was at a standstill from 2010 to 2017, but has recently resumed. We need to hold talks with eight more states regarding our perspective membership in the WTO,” the minister said.

He added that Belarus needs to hold talks with the United States and the European Union.

“The head of state repeated that the accession to the WTO is not an end in itself for us,” said Vladimir Makei.

According to him, when making the final decision, it is necessary to take into account both advantages and disadvantages of joining the organization. “We have to go the rest of the way, but the decision will be made only after we feel confident that the WTO entry will bring us concrete economic dividends. Today, we have also discussed the situation around the latest statements made by the American leadership about WTO activities. We have to be very careful about it. It would not be good if we do everything possible to join the WTO and see it collapse after a while, or see its activities brought to nothing,” Vladimir Makei said.

“We will continue our work on accession to the WTO, but the final decision will be made at a later stage, when we see it is profitable for us,” said Vladimir Makei.

Speaking about the world situation, Vladimir Makei pointed out to the economic recovery in almost all the regions and countries. “However, negative moments still prevail. First of all, it is political confrontation. You see what is going on between Russia and the West. This is more of a political and economic aspect,” he said.

“As for the trade and economic relations, we can see a definite shift from those generally accepted trade rules that existed before,” the minister said. “I mean WTO activities. This confrontation, the shift from the rules of trade, toughened competition in various regions, on various markets have a negative impact on our export, foreign economic component,” he added.

“Today we have to act in very complicated conditions. We have to take this into account in our activities. The president also mentioned it and said that, despite all sorts of negative aspects, we must fulfill the tasks that were set out. We must rely only on ourselves,” Vladimir Makei said.

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