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Technical Assistance to Belarus

International technical assistance project “Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the WTO through Strengthening Institutional Capacity and Expertise”

In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding and the Priority Areas of Cooperation in the Field of International Trade, Investment and Development, signed on 16 July 2007 by the Prime Minister of Belarus, the Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and UNDP Country Office in Belarus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNDP Office have developed the technical assistance project “Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the WTO through Strengthening Institutional Capacity and Expertise”, which was approved by Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 1863 of 29 December 2007. 

The objective of the project is to assist the Government of the Republic of Belarus in its process of accession to the WTO by strengthening the expertise of the national institutions, as well as increasing public awareness of the WTO accession process.

Project implementation period: 

Phase 1 – February 2008 – February 2010,
Phase 2 – March 2010 – July 2012,
Phase 3 – August 2012 – December 2013,
Phase 4 – June 2015 – till present time.

The main objectives and outcomes of Phase 4 of the Project

Implementation of Phase 4 of the Project started in June 2015. The donor is the Government of the Russian Federation.

The following research papers have been prepared by the national and international consultants within the scope of the first component of the project titled “Research and assessment of possible outcomes of Belarus’ accession to the WTO”:

  • Package review of the Republic of Kazakhstan in terms of conformity with the EAEU regulations on the access to the services market.
  • Package review of the Republic of Kazakhstan in terms of conformity with the EAEU sanitary and phytosanitary measures of trade regulation.
  • Package review of the Republic of Kazakhstan in terms of conformity with the EAEU technical regulations.
  • Package review of the Republic of Kazakhstan in terms of conformity with the EAEU regulations on internal policies affecting trade in goods, except the issues of the sanitary and phytosanitary measures of trade regulation and the technical regulations.
  • Manual on negotiating market access for goods.
  • Manual on developing the list of obligations under the GATS agreement for negotiators and experts.
  • Analysis of the legislation of the Republic of Belarus in the field of intellectual property on its compliance with the WTO rules.
  • Analysis of the legislation of the Republic of Belarus and Eurasian Economic Union on its compliance with the WTO rules and world best practices in the field of sanitary and phytosanitary measures with regard to ensuring food safety for the health benefits.

The following work has been done within the scope of the second Project component — “Strengthening the national capacity in various fields related to the country’s accession to the WTO”:

  • The international consultant prepared the document: “Review of the trade relations of the Republic of Belarus, the EAEU Member States, and the Member States of the Working Group on accession of the Republic of Belarus to the WTO.” This document includes a detailed analysis of the trade structure of the Republic of Belarus with the Member States of the Working Group and assesses the competitiveness of the Belarusian goods in the markets of the Member States of the Working Group.
  • National experts involved in the process of accession of Belarus to the WTO participated in 20 activities on WTO issues. The activities took part in the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Swiss Confederation, the Kingdom of Spain, the United States of America, the Ukraine, and Australia.
  • The seminar — “The EAEU functions and challenges when the EAEU Member States are the WTO members” — was held (Minsk, December 2015).  The seminar was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, the members of the Interagency Commission on the Issue of the Accession of the Republic of Belarus to the WTO, representatives of other government agencies of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the experts of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Economic Commission for Europe (EEC), and the WTO Secretariat.
  • A presentation on the Virtual Institute under the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was shown to the representatives of the pioneering educational institutions of the Republic of Belarus (Minsk, December 2015).
  • The seminar — “Practical Use of  ITC Databases “Market Access Map” and  “Trade Map” in Trade Negotiations” — was held (Minsk, March 2016). The seminar was conducted in cooperation with the International Trade Centre. 
  • The seminar — “WTO-related Trade Disputes” — was held (Minsk, August 2016). The seminar was conducted in cooperation with the WTO Expertise Centre (the Russian Federation). 
  • The seminar — “Case Studies of WTO Members in Subsidies” — was held (Minsk, October 2016). The seminar was conducted in cooperation with the WTO Expertise Centre (the Russian Federation). 
  • The seminar — “Modern Trends in Regional Trade Agreements and their Influence on the Accession of Belarus to the WTO” — was held (Minsk, November 2016). The seminar was conducted in cooperation with the WTO Secretariat. 
  • The seminar — “The Republic of Kazakhstan’s Experience in Accession to the WTO. Recommendations to the Republic of Belarus” — was held (Minsk, April 2017). 
  • Cooperation has been started with the WTO Expertise Center Independent Noncommercial Organization (Russian Federation) and the Center for Trade Policy Development Joint Stock Company (Republic of Kazakhstan).
  • 60 national experts in the field of integration of the Republic of Belarus into the world trade system have been trained.

The following work has been done within the scope of the third Project component — “Raising public awareness of the process of the WTO accession”

  • A regional seminar was held — “Certain aspects of the accession of the Republic of Belarus to the World Trade Organization (WTO)” (Mogilev, October 2015) under the UN Express 70 initiative. The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Republic of Belarus, regional business community, academic circles, local governments participated in the seminar. The experts of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the International Trade Center (ITC), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the WTO Secretariat took part in the seminar, too.
  • A range of round tables was held for the business community on the accession of Belarus to the WTO «WTO Week in the Republic of Belarus» (Vitebsk-22.08.2016, Mogilev-23.08.2016, Gomel-24.08.2016, Brest-25.08.2016, and Grodno-26.08.2016). National and international consultants from the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Swiss Confederation as well as more than 250 representatives of regional enterprises, business associations, educational establishments, and local authorities took part in the round tables.

The project is being actively implemented.

Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX)

In February 2017 Belarus held a workshop “Experience of the EU Member-States in accession to the WTO”. The workshop was organized under Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX). 

More than 100 representatives of the Republican bodies of State administration and academic circles took part in the workshop.

International experts from the European Union (Lithuania, Croatia, Bulgaria) took part in the workshop as speakers.

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