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Opinions & Interviews

1 Nov 2017

Hope for Belarus’ stronger stance in international trade after WTO accession

Hope for Belarus’ stronger stance in international trade after WTO accession

MINSK, 1 November (BelTA) – I hope that the accession to the World Trade Organization will strengthen Belarus’ positions in the international trade, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said as he met with a WTO delegation on 1 November, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus’ membership in the WTO will help fortify our positions in the international trade and enhance the business and investment attractiveness of Belarus,” Andrei Kobyakov noted.

Belarus attaches great importance to the current visit of the WTO delegation as it is a crucial signal to foreign partners about the country’s readiness to take efforts to accelerate the WTO accession process, the prime minister said. Lately, there has been a growing interest in negotiations on Belarus’ accession to the WTO from international organizations: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This is also proved by the fact that meetings with the IMF and UNDP missions were scheduled during the visit.

The visit shall become another impetus to the national effort to speed up the accession process. “This is a signal to government bodies and agencies, and also businessmen that we are moving towards the final measures to prepare the country for accession to the WTO. On behalf of the government I would like to say that we will do whatever is necessary to promptly complete the negotiation process on Belarus’ accession to the WTO on the most favorable terms for our country,” the prime minister highlighted.

He also stressed that Belarus, being a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), already lives by the WTO standards and rules as they form the backbone of the EAEU legislation. “Belarus has also made a fair contribution to the negotiation process on accession to the WTO by means of establishing the customs tariffs at the level of Russia’s obligations. Thus, on the one hand, we live by the WTO standards and rules to a large extent, but on the other hand, we do not have the preferences envisaged for WTO members,” Andrei Kobyakov added.

Belarus wants to arrange the tenth session of the working group on WTO accession in March 2018. By this time, the working group plans to prepare a second draft report to be as close to the final document as possible.

There are plans to promote the process at the main WTO event, namely the 11th Ministerial Conference due in Buenos Aires in December 2017. First Deputy Prime Minister Vasily Matyushevsky is expected to head the Belarusian delegation. Belarus hopes to sign protocols on the completion of the negotiations on WTO accession with two to three WTO member states in Buenos Aires.

Andrei Kobyakov suggested discussing the current state and prospects of the negotiation process and further steps to be taken by Belarus.

Chairman of the WTO Working Party on Belarus’ accession, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the WTO Kemal Madenoglu thanked the Belarusian prime minister for his dedication to and participation in the accession process and support for initiatives at the high level. In his words, the WTO thinks that Belarus will join the organization soon. “The talks held lately are very important for us to complete the accession process,” Kemal Madenoglu emphasized.

 

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