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Benefits of WTO membership

The WTO aspires for free trade by binding its Members with international commitments in terms of access to the goods and services markets, the use of economic policy instruments affecting trade, and the state support of agriculture. 

WTO membership provides

— most favoured nation treatment, which means equal access for all companies of all WTO Members to the markets of all Members of the Organization; 

— national treatment that prohibits national producers from gaining advantages over importers; 

— reduction of trade barriers, primarily tariffs and quantitative restrictions, which provides for increased trade between Members; 

— predictability and transparency of international trade – WTO Members have bound their tariffs and cannot, except for good reason, introduce other import restrictions, such as bans or quotas; 

— increased competitiveness by eliminating unfair practices between trading partners aimed at stimulating trade, primarily export subsidies and dumping; 

— opportunity to defend trade interests at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, since all Members will have international commitments towards Belarus for non-application of trade restrictions. 

For Belarus, WTO membership will provide additional benefits.

— Participation in the development of new rules and principles of international trade

Participation in the WTO activity will allow Belarus to promote its national interests and to timely adapt to the evolving global trade rules.

The WTO is working on many relevant issues, including e-commerce, streamlining investment procedures, engaging small and medium-sized enterprises in international trade, etc.

— Export diversification

WTO law is an effective (and currently the only) instrument of legal protection against the use of discriminatory trade practices by all WTO Members.

The unlocked growth potential of Belarus’ exports of goods and services to the territory of 164 WTO Members will be more than $ 1.3 billion.

— Transparent, predictable and attractive investment regime

Taking commitments upon accession to the WTO outlines the boundaries of permissible restrictions on trade, which means it guarantees the stability of legislation and reduces investment risks.

The increase in foreign direct investments accumulated in Belarus within 5 years after joining the WTO may amount to $ 12 billion.

— Increase of sovereign credit ratings

WTO membership is a sign of the conformity of the national economic policy with international standards for creditors and donors of our country. Raising credit ratings directly affects the cost of financial resources for Belarus.

For 80% of countries that have joined the WTO since 2004, the credit rating in the classification of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) increased within 3 years from the date of accession.

— Strengthening positions in trade disputes

The possibility to turn to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) is a serious reason for foreign partners to seek compromises in trade disagreements.

Since the creation of the DSB, about half of disputes out of 621 initiated proceedings have been resolved at the stage of initial consultations (as of January 2024).

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