VITEBSK, 21 April (BelTA) - Belarus exports more than 70% of its gross domestic product, and full membership in the World Trade Organization is in our interests, Yuri Gorelik, director of the department of foreign economic activities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, told the media in Vitebsk on 21 April, BelTA has learned.
Now Belarus is negotiating with five countries - the United States, the EU (as a single trade and economic bloc), Ukraine, New Zealand and Canada. Bilateral negotiations are expected to complete during this year. "The second task is to negotiate our multilateral commitments. At the moment we have agreed almost half of the commitments. We are still negotiating others," Yuri Gorelik said.
According to him, by joining the WTO the country will adapt its legislation to the best world practices and remove regulatory barriers. “It is important that local authorities raise awareness of economic entities and maybe the population of the importance of the WTO for Belarus. We export more than 70% of our gross domestic product, and full membership in the organization is in our interest. It is important that there is predictability in foreign markets and that we have the ability to defend our interests when they are violated using this international platform," the director of the department said.
Last year, Belarus' exports amounted to $29 billion, down by 11.2%. The main reasons for this, in addition to the pandemic, were difficulties with the supply of Russian oil and the fall in prices for potash fertilizers. In Vitebsk Oblast, many industries are export-oriented, some companies supply 99% of their output abroad.
The information campaign "WTO Weeks in Belarus 2021" kicked off in Vitebsk on 21 April. A series of regional roundtables with the business community on Belarus' accession to the WTO will be held in all regions of the country. During a videoconference with Vitebsk Oblast experts talked about customs and tariff protection of Belarusian producers, access of Belarusian goods to the markets of third countries, promotion of export of services within the framework of the country's accession to the WTO.