VITEBSK, 21 April (BelTA) – After negotiations on Belarus' accession to the World Trade Organization are over, the volume of state support available to Belarusian agriculture will not be reduced but it will be necessary to remodel the system for providing state support. Mikhail Zelenovsky, an attache of the WTO and Trade Regimes Unification Office of the Foreign Economic Activities Department of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the statement during a regional roundtable session with the business community, BelTA has learned.
The official noted that state support for agriculture is a hot-button topic for all countries and the European Union is the leader in terms of the volume of state support. He reminded that according to WTO rules domestic support for agriculture is divided into three baskets – red, yellow, and green. The red basket contains prohibited measures (direct subsidizing of export and import substitution and a number of other measures). Those measures will have to be phased out after Belarus joins the WTO. The yellow basket contains tools that distort competition but can be used with approval of the WTO members concerned, primarily with the approval of the top exporters of agricultural products.
Mikhail Zelenovsky said: “We would like to keep the size of state support as high as possible. But you have to understand that after negotiations on Belarus' accession to the WTO are over, the volume of state support for agriculture will not be reduced. We will only reformat the channels used to provide it using green basket tools, including subsidies for infrastructure projects, scientific projects, and educational projects.” The experience of Russia and Kazakhstan confirms it: the absolute volume of state support did not shrink over there after the two countries joined the WTO but the state support system was remodeled. Belarus should be ready to do the same.
The regional roundtable session to discuss Belarus' accession to the WTO with the business community has been organized as part of the information campaign WTO Weeks in Belarus 2021. During the session representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Economy Ministry, and national experts in the area of foreign trade and the WTO talked about matters concerning the customs and tariff protection of Belarusian producers, access of Belarusian goods to third-country markets, and opportunities for promoting the export of services within the framework of Belarus' accession to the WTO.