MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus is indeed interested in joining the World Trade Organization as soon as possible on mutually acceptable terms. Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief Negotiator on Belarus' accession to the WTO Vladimir Serpikov made the relevant statement during a meeting of the informal group of the countries joining the WTO, BelTA learned from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva.
The videoconference meeting was chaired by Permanent Representative of Belarus in Geneva Yuri Ambrazevich. Representatives of 17 countries took part in the meeting. In his speech Vladimir Serpikov reaffirmed Belarus' interest in getting WTO membership as fast as possible on mutually beneficial terms. He noted that despite the complications brought about by the pandemic Belarus continues vigorous bilateral negotiations with interested WTO members and is ready for the next session of the working group on Belarus' accession to the WTO at any time that suits WTO members.
During the meeting WTO Deputy Director General Alan Wolff assured that further expansion of the organization remains a high priority in the organization's work. He called for countries to continue vigorous interaction with the WTO members in all negotiation aspects, including remotely. He presented concrete steps that the countries in the process of joining the WTO may take as a contribution to the multilateral response to challenges of the pandemic.
The sides also discussed peculiarities of advancing the negotiations on joining the WTO in conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the end of the meeting Yuri Ambrazevich stressed the importance of getting the countries negotiating for WTO membership involved in multilateral interaction and strategic planning for the sake of fighting consequences of the pandemic. He pointed out that accession to the WTO is a two-way road. A sincere dialogue with the WTO leadership is valuable for acceding countries not only as a tool to advance the accession negotiations but an opportunity to make their own contribution to the future of the World Trade Organization.