Belarus hopes to negotiate trade agreement with EC

Business Materials 22 October 2008 17:14 (UTC +04:00)

Belarus plans to hold negotiations with the European Commission on certain issues regarding the Belarus-EU relations including a possibility of signing a Belarus-EU trade agreement, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Andrei Evdochenko told reporters on October 22, reproted Belta.

After the visit of the Foreign Minister of Belarus to Luxembourg and Brussels this year, Minsk is expecting a visit of an EC delegation to discus certain issues of strengthening the Belarus-EU relations. The date of the visit is being specified. Some group will arrive in Belarus at the beginning of November.

Speaking about a trade agreement, Andrei Evdochenko said that this will be a strategic document. "It is time we set our relations with the European Union on a systematized legislative footing so that the EU countries and Belarus should understand clearly where they are heading," he said. In 1997 Belarus and EC initialled a temporary trade agreement. But since then big changes have taken place in mutual trade, economies have changed too. "The trade agreement which was signed in late 1990s does not meet the modern-day challenges. We are ready for the negotiations on the new fundamental agreement which would reflect all aspects of interaction between Belarus and the EC in trade."

Belarus also hopes that the negotiations with the European Commission will facilitate its WTO accession talks. "On the part of the European Commission we have received a green light to hold Belarus' WTO accession negotiations both on the bilateral basis and within the framework of multilateral working group. Now we are waiting for a signal from the USA and hope that the multilateral working group will gather for a session at the end of 2008 or early 2009," Andrei Evdochenko said.