Belarus Plans To Start Negotiations With The US On WTO Membership

Belarus is to start negotiations with the US on the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the end of the American government shutdown, Belapan reports.

A regular meeting of the working group on Belarus’s accession to the WTO will be held in Geneva in February, according to Deputy Economy Minister Dmitry Yaroshevich.

belarus wto negotiations

“We expect to start the next negotiations in February in order to ensure the accession of the country to the WTO by mid-2020,” Yaroshevich stated.

Juan Marchetti, the WTO representative, also believes Belarus has every chance to complete all the necessary accession procedures by the middle of the next year.

Read also: Lukashenko reveals terms of Belarus’ deeper integration with Russia

“Belarus has made substantial progress in its efforts to join the WTO. This pertains to the country’s strategic decisions, the legal framework, and regulatory enforcement. 

Therefore, Belarus is getting closer to the WTO accession. At the current moment, the country is in the final stage of talks,” Juan Marchetti said.

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The country has more than a year ahead to complete talks and reach an agreement with key members – the EU and USA, Norway, and Switzerland. Others are Canada, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

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Recall that a series of roundtable sessions on the matter took place in Minsk in 2018. Back then Belarus planned to join WTO in 2017 and later by the 2019 year end.

“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.

The WTO is the largest international economic organization in the world, it deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries. Belarus is the only European country that is not a member of it.