A series of roundtable sessions on Belarus’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) took place in Minsk last week.
Belarus plans to join the WTO by the 2019 year end.
The intentions were made public by Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas and confirmed by his deputy at the October Economic Forum in Minsk.
“We have yet to finish negotiations and sign agreements with seven countries. We intend to finish the negotiations by late 2019 in order to become a WTO member in 2020,” Sergei Rumas said.
To join the WTO, Belarus has yet to conclude negotiations with key members – the EU and USA, Norway, and Switzerland. Others are Canada, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
Maika Oshikawa, the Director at WTO Accessions Division, also expressed hope that the country will be able to join the organization in the near future.
“For the first time, we seem to have heard a specific date from the government of Belarus. This is a fairly clear message to members of the World Trade Organization that Belarus takes it seriously. I think that this is an ambitious but realistic goal. I can’t think of a better place and time to welcome Belarus to our midst,” she said.
She also noted that of the 25 countries that are currently in the process of joining the WTO, Belarus has the most professional and respected team of negotiators.
The final decision on Belarus’ joining the WTO will be made after some amendments of the legislation while bearing in mind national interests.
WTO is the only global international organization that international trade. Belarus is the only European country that is not a member of it.