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Technical Assistance to Belarus

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 – March 2018.
Phase 5 – March 2018 – December 2020.

 

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.
  • Republic of Belarus legislation analysis in the field of intellectual property for compliance with WTO rules.
  • Republic of Belarus and the EEU legal acts analysis for compliance with WTO rules and the best world practices of sanitary and phytosanitary measures regulation in terms of ensuring food safety for human health.

 

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”:

 

  • An 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 Party and assesses the competitiveness of the Belarusian goods in the markets of the Member States of the Working Party.
  • A national consultant prepared the document: “Review of the current legislation of the Republic of Belarus and law enforcement practice for the services rendering on the territory of the Republic of Belarus by foreign legal entities without the need to register a legal entity in the Republic of Belarus and recommendations development on the introduction of a foreign company branches institute in the legislation of the Republic of Belarus”.
  • As part of facilitation of participation of national experts in the WTO activities, national experts involved in the negotiation process on Belarus' accession to the WTO took part in thirty WTO events.
  • The seminar  “The EAEU functions and challenges in the context of the WTO membership of the EAEU Member States”  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 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, and the WTO Secretariat.
  • A presentation of the Virtual Institute of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was made for representatives of the leading educational institutions of the Republic of Belarus (Minsk, December 2015).
  • The seminar  “Practical use of International Trade Center UNCTAD/WTO “Market Access Map” and “Trade Map” databases in the process of trade negotiations”  was held (Minsk, March 2016). The seminar was organized jointly with the International Trade Center.
  • The seminar  “Review of the spheres of regulation on which the WTO disputes most often arise, final decisions of the Dispute Settlement Body on them, WTO members experience of WTO consistent protection measures application taking into account the decisions of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body”  was held (Minsk, August 2016). The seminar was organized jointly with the WTO Expertise Center, an Independent Noncommercial Organization (Russian Federation).
  • The seminar  Application of subsidies by the WTO members”  was held (Minsk, October 2016). The seminar was organized jointly with the WTO Expertise Center, an Independent Noncommercial Organization (Russian Federation).
  • The seminar  “Modern Trends in regional trade agreements and their impact on the accession of the Republic of Belarus to the WTO”  was held (Minsk, November 2016). The seminar was organized jointly with the WTO Secretariat.
  • The seminar  “Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO. Guidelines for the Republic of Belarus” was held (Minsk, April 2017).
  • The seminar  “Protocol on accession to the WTO as a source of international obligations and the basis for legal protection in the Dispute Resolution Authority”  was held (Minsk, May 2017). The seminar was organized jointly with the WTO Expertise Center, an Independent Noncommercial Organization (Russian Federation).
  • The seminar  “Application of trade protection measures in the context of Belarus' accession to the WTO”  was held (Minsk, October 2017). The seminar was organized jointly with the WTO Secretariat and the EEU.
  • The seminars on two topics  “Permissible measures of state support to agricultural and industrial products producers, excluding the risks of adverse consequences for them, as well as risks of bringing the Republic of Belarus to responsibility for obligations violation under the WTO Agreement” and “Legislation and law enforcement practice improvement to reduce the risks of bringing the Republic of Belarus to liability responsibility for obligations violation under the WTO Agreement”  were held (Minsk, December 2017). The seminar was organized jointly with the WTO Expertise Center, an Independent Noncommercial Organization (Russian Federation).
  • Cooperation has been started with the WTO Expertise Center, an Independent Noncommercial Organization (Russian Federation) and the Center for Trade Policy Development, Joint Stock Company (Republic of Kazakhstan).
  • About 70 national experts have upgraded their skills on integration cooperation of Belarus in the world trade system at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow) and the University of Barcelona.

 

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. Representatives of the MFA of the Republic of Belarus, regional business community, academic circles, local governments participated in the seminar. 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.
  • A number of regional round-table conferences with business community on the accession of the Republic of Belarus to the World Trade Organization “Week of the WTO in the Republic of Belarus” was held (Vitebsk – 22.08.2016, Mogilev-23.08.2016, Gomel-24.08.2016, Brest-25.08.2016, Grodno- 26.08.2016). The round tables were attended by national and international consultants from the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Swiss Confederation, more than 250 representatives of regional enterprises, business associations, educational institutions, local executive authorities.

 

Implementation of Phase 5 of the Project started in March 2018. The donor is the Government of the Russian Federation.

 

Within the scope of the first component of Phase 5 of the project titled «Operational support of the negotiation process on Belarus’ accession to the WTO», analytical work on sectoral assessment of potential impacts of the Republic of Belarus’ accession to the WTO, as well as necessary analytical materials on multilateral negotiations on Belarus’ accession to the WTO were prepared by international and national consultants.

 

The following work has been done within the scope of the second component of Phase 5 of the Project «Finalization of national capacity building for preparation of the country for subsequent membership in WTO»:

 

·         As part of facilitation of participation of national experts in the WTO activities, national experts, involved in the negotiation process on Belarus' accession to the WTO, participated in 24 WTO events.

·         An advanced training course «Trade Negotiations Strategy» was organized and carried out at the University of Barcelona for 10 members of the Interagency Commission (representatives of 5 Belarusian ministries), responsible for accession to the WTO, directly involved in the negotiation process (July 2018, Barcelona, the Kingdom of Spain).

·         3 national experts (representatives of BSU and BSEU) took part in the XIX April International Scientific Conference on the problems of economic and social development, held by the National Research University Higher School of Economics (April 2018, Moscow, Russian Federation).

·         9 national experts (lectures and specialists representing BSU, BSEU, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus), providing advice and training on WTO-related issues, upgraded their skills at the Trade Policy Institute of the National Research University «Higher School of Economics» (June 2018, Moscow, Russian Federation).

·         The seminar «Quantitative restrictions and the Information Technology Agreement in the context of Belarus’s accession to the WTO» was held (November 2018, Minsk, Republic of Belarus). The seminar was organized jointly with the WTO Secretariat.

 

Within the framework of the third component of Phase 5 of the Project «Raising awareness of business community about the rules of work in the context of Belarus’ membership in WTO», a number of regional round-table conferences with business community on the accession of the Republic of Belarus to the World Trade Organization “Week of the WTO in the Republic of Belarus-2018” was held (Vitebsk – 16.10.2018, Mogilev – 17.10.2018, Gomel – 18.10.2018, Brest – 30.10.2018, Grodno – 31.10.2018, Minsk – 02.11.2018). The round tables were attended by 7 experts from Republic of Belarus, Russian Federation, Republic of Kazakhstan, and 614 representatives of regional enterprises, business associations, local executive authorities and educational institutions. 500 copies of a practical guide «World Trade Organization for the Benefit of Enterprises» were published for the participants of the regional round tables.

 

Currently, the project is in the active stage of implementation.

 

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

 

Within the framework of the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Tool of the European Commission (TAIEX) a seminar “Experience of the member states of the European Union in the accession to the WTO” was held in February 2017 in Minsk. About 100 representatives of Belarus state bodies, academic circles involved in the negotiation process on Belarus' accession to the WTO took part in the event.

 

The speakers were international experts from the European Union (Lithuania, Croatia, Bulgaria).