15 Oct 2009 16:17

European Commission interested in Belarusian entry into WTO

MINSK. Oct 15 (Interfax) - The European Commission is interested in the Belarusian accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), head of the European Commission delegation to Minsk Jean-Eric Holzapfel told a Thursday press briefing in Minsk.

He said Belarus should join the WTO at a certain stage of Belarus-EU relations.

Belarus is forming a tripartite customs union with Russia and Kazakhstan, and the trio has declared the wish to hold joint negotiations on the entry into the WTO, he said. The European Commission hopes these negotiations will be successful, because WTO membership is important for all, he said.

Belarus has informed the European Commission about its participation in the formation of the customs union and the intention to coordinate its accession to the WTO with customs union partners, Holzapfel said.

It is possible to hold WTO membership talks with the trio and with each of the three countries, on the basis of a coordinated position, he said.

The diplomat affirmed Belarusian progress in the fulfillment of five EU demands in Belarus-EU cooperation.

He also said they expected more.

Belarusian progress in five key areas is necessary for unfreezing the agreement on partnership and cooperation with the European Union, the official said.

He said they could work on a free trade agreement and associated documents.