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Opinions & Interviews

2 Nov 2015

Revenue growth as a result of Belarus’ WTO membership over medium term

MINSK, 2 November (BelTA) – Full membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) can ensure Belarus a significant revenue growth in the medium term, World Bank Senior economist Ruslan Piontkivsky said at the presentation of a document on the implications of the accession WTO for Belarus, BelTA has learned.

"Belarus’ full membership in the WTO can ensure a significant revenue growth in the medium- and long-term perspectives. The expected growth in the well-being is linked to the reduction of the number of discriminatory and non-discriminatory barriers to service providers,” the expert said.

He noted that the reduction of the number of barriers to foreign investment and liberalization of the regulatory environment in connection with the WTO accession will lead to the growth of business services. Thus, the quantitative analysis shows that insurance, communications, and transport will expand the biggest in the services sector. “In general, the estimated direct welfare gains associated with the expansion of services after the number of discriminatory and non-discriminatory regulatory barriers is reduced will be 7.2% of consumption, or 3.5% of GDP," said Ruslan Piontkivsky noted.

According to representatives of the World Bank, increased competition in the provision of business services will have a beneficial impact on the industry. “Most industries are expected to increase production both in the medium-term perspective and also, which is more important, in the long run. Reduction of the number of regulatory barriers in the services sector will expand their range and reduce prices which will have a beneficial impact on industrial users,” Ruslan Piontkivsky noted. Presumably, the greatest growth in the distant future will be registered in the production of food products, beverages and tobacco products (5.1%), chemical industry (7.1%), manufacture of leather and leather products (13.7%).

According to Ruslan Piontkivsky, Belarus’ agriculture can also gain benefits, but this will happen in the long-term perspective. "The annual production growth in this industry can achieve 0.8% per year in the medium-term and 6.3% per year in the long-term perspective, almost twice the average growth of the last decade," said the expert.

At the same time representatives of the World Bank take note that in line with the obligations in the Eurasian Economic Union Belarus is due to reduce its agricultural subsidies to the level of the Russian commitments to the WTO.

The document “Republic of Belarus. Special Focus: Impact of the WTO Accession” says that the full membership in the World Trade Organization will require making changes in the legal framework. During the talks on the WTO entry Belarus should prepare its obligations in such areas as investors’ rights in business services, customs regulation and production standards.

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