MINSK, 22 January (BelTA) – The World Trade Organization believes that Belarus is highly likely to complete all the necessary accession procedures by mid 2020, Juan Marchetti, a counsellor at the Trade in Services and Investment Division of the WTO Secretariat, told reporters, BelTA has learned.
According to the WTO representative, Belarus has met nearly all the requirements necessary to join the organization. “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, the Republic of Belarus is getting closer to the WTO accession. At the current moment, the country is in the final stage of talks,” Juan Marchetti said.
Commenting on the plans of the Belarusian government to join the WTO by mid-2020, Juan Marchetti said that “it is absolutely possible, because Belarus has more than a year ahead to complete the negotiating process”. “If Belarus makes every effort, rounds off the talks and reaches an agreement with the WTO members, the accession will become a reality within the time frame specified,” Juan Marchetti added. The issues that have to be addressed include the talks on the trade in services. Investment policy is another area of focus.
Minsk is hosting a national seminar on the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on 22-24 January. The seminar is organized by the Economy Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus jointly with the WTO Secretariat with support of the UNDP project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise”. The seminar is designed to improve the skills and knowledge of Belarusian government officials involved in talks on the access to the market of services in the context of the WTO accession. The seminar aims to improve understanding of the structure, functioning, obligations and principles of the General Agreement on Trade in Services with a focus on specific obligations related to the access to the market of services.