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Opinions & Interviews

16 Jan 2019

MFA: Belarus’ interest in joining WTO remains high

MFA: Belarus’ interest in joining WTO remains high

MINSK, 16 January (BelTA) - Belarus’ interest in joining the World Trade Organization remains high. We intend to continue negotiations with trading partners, Belarus First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Yeudachenka told reporters, BelTA has learned.

“Our interest remains high. The WTO brings together all the major trading partners of Belarus. In accordance with the instructions given by the head of state in 2016, we have significantly stepped up the negotiation process in the past two years. We have already completed negotiations with approximately 20 trading partners and are yet to do so with some 5 to 6 countries who are the most difficult partners. We are set to hold another round of negotiations in Geneva in February and also a meeting of the working party on the accession of Belarus to the WTO,” Andrei Yeudachenka said.

According to him, the working group has prepared a consolidated report. "This is the outcome document which will spell out all Belarus’ WTO commitments. In February we plan to hold a meeting of our working group that will be attended by a great number of representatives of the WTO member states and also a series of bilateral negotiations, first of all, with the European Union and the countries we are almost ready to sign bilateral protocols with,” said Andrei Yeudachenka.

He also noted that the WTO is in the middle of reforming process. Some say that the organization has become useless and ineffective. “I would not say that the organization is ineffective. The WTO is undergoing a process of optimization and reorganization to shed outdated functions and to increase supervision over the fulfillment of commitments by the member states,” the diplomat said.

Andrei Yeudachenka expressed confidence that rumors about the WTO’s demise are exaggerated. “If this organization is modernized to match modern economic trends, then its weight and role in global trade will increase. This is why Belarus needs to be part of it in order to discuss international trade issues. We have certain economic interests and would like to promote them at the international level especially in such an important organization as the WTO,” Andrei Yeudachenka summed up.

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