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Opinions & Interviews

8 Nov 2018

WTO reform expected to have no effect on Belarus’ accession process

WTO reform expected to have no effect on Belarus’ accession process
Photo courtesy of government.by

MINSK, 8 November (BelTA) – The Belarusian government expects that the reformation of the World Trade Organization will not affect the country’s accession to the WTO. First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Alexander Turchin made the statement as he met with a WTO delegation, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Turchin said: “As we are getting ready to become a full WTO member, we keep an eye on current trends in the organization’s operation. We believe the WTO’s ongoing reformation is a very important process, however, we would like to avoid new requirements from WTO member states in the course of negotiations on Belarus’ accession because of it.”

Alexander Turchin thanked WTO Deputy Director General Alan Wolff and the WTO Secretariat for supporting Belarus on its way to becoming a WTO member.

Speaking about the new composition of the Belarusian government, Alexander Turchin assured that the government will focus on further enhancing the competitive ability of the Belarusian economy, promoting digital trade, developing small and medium private business and the sphere of services. “The new government will ensure the continuity of our foreign trade policy without any radical changes. We believe that completing the negotiations on Belarus’ accession to the WTO is an important task,” said the first deputy prime minister of Belarus. Alexander Turchin went on saying that the WTO’s 12th ministerial conference, which is due in Astana, Kazakhstan in June 2020, may be a possible reference point in this direction.

According to Alexander Turchin, bilateral and multilateral negotiations on Belarus’ accession to the WTO have been considerably invigorated lately. However, certain issues regarding export restrictions and non-tariff foreign trade regulations still linger.

WTO Deputy Director General Alan Wolff remarked that more vigorous negotiations on the part of Belarus had been welcomed by WTO members. He said that since the negotiations were resumed, three productive meetings of the working group on accession have been held and nine protocols have been signed as a result of bilateral negotiations.

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