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Opinion: WTO membership will help Belarus to diversify exports, attract investment

Economy 28.11.2019 | 14:58

MINSK, 28 November (BelTA) – Belarus' accession to the WTO will help diversify exports and make the country's more attractive for investors, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief Negotiator on Belarus' accession to the WTO Vladimir Serpikov said as he spoke during a roundtable with the business community, BelTA has learned.

“WTO membership is a very important tool for advancing national interests on the international arena. Today Belarus is an open export-oriented economy. That is why it is especially important for us to ensure an equal competitive environment at the global level,” he said. “Accession to the WTO will help eliminate discrimination in the access to the markets of the member states and create a basis for increasing our exports, promoting commodity and geographical diversification. Along with market access, Belarus will also get access to the WTO trade dispute settlement system,” Vladimir Serpikov said.

According to Vladimir Serpikov, Belarus' membership in the WTO will strengthen the country's position in negotiations with international economic organizations, such as the IMF and the World Bank, will increase its investment attractiveness and become an additional important factor in improving the competitiveness of the Belarusian economy and development of small and medium-sized businesses.

Currently, Belarus has approached the final stage of the negotiation process. "Since 2017, we have signed protocols with such WTO member countries as the Republic of Korea, Japan, Norway, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Iceland, Argentina, and Switzerland. A protocol on the completion of bilateral negotiations with Australia is expected to be signed. Negotiations continue with a number of key WTO members: the EU, USA, Canada, Brazil," Vladimir Serpikov said.

The government wants the negotiations on WTO accession to complete in 2020. "We would like to do it by the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nur Sultan, which will be held in June 2020. We are doing everything to achieve this ambitious goal. The most important thing is to join the WTO on terms that correspond to the national interests," said the head of the negotiating delegation.

Minsk is hosting a roundtable for the business community on the accession of the country to the World Trade Organization, within the framework of the WTO Week in the Republic of Belarus - 2019. The event has brought together national experts and experts in foreign trade to discuss the most pressing issues on the process, status and consequences of WTO accession for enterprises and industries, and the rules of work in the WTO area.

The roundtable is held as part of the project ”Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise (Phase 5)”. The project is financed by the Russian government and implemented by the UN Development Program in partnership with the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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