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21 February 2020, 12:15

MFA: Belarus may join WTO in late 2020 - early 2021

MINSK, 21 February (BelTA) - Bilateral negotiations on Belarus' accession to the World Trade Organization should be completed by June. Accession to the organization is possible in late 2020 - early 2021, Belarus' First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Yeudachenka told reporters, BelTA has learned.

“If we technically complete negotiations by the summer, then we will have an administrative and organizational period for about six months as texts, obligations are reconciliation of, each country once again checks all the concluded agreements. Sometime at the end of this year – early next year we can do it. So far, the goal is to complete all bilateral negotiations by June,” Andrei Yeudachenka said.

The next WTO ministerial conference, during which Belarus could join the organization, will be held in Nur Sultan in June. However, since the working group has failed to hold meetings with the United States and Russia, the schedule may be delayed slightly. “I do not think this will have serious implications for the timing of our entry. Even if we do not join the WTO this summer, we are still planning to complete all bilateral negotiations by June of this year. Technically, WTO accession is possible four times a year, at any general session of the WTO Council. So we have time till the the end of this year and the beginning of the next year,” the deputy minister said.

“We are closely coordinating our positions with the Russians, so that after the accession we will not have a situation when the Belarusian goods will face the border. The Russian market remains a priority for us, and we are joining the WTO in many ways on the same terms as Russia. So far, our documents practically do not depart from Russian obligations and have not violated the EAEU customs tariff,” Andrei Yeudachenka said.

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