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At the end of January, a three-day practical seminar “General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the Context of the Accession of Belarus to the WTO” was held in Minsk. The seminar was jointly conducted by the United Nations Development Program in Belarus, the WTO Secretariat, the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.

The opening ceremony was attended by Mr. Dmitry Yaroshevich, the Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Belarus, and Mr. Vladimir Serpikov, Ambassador-at-Large/Chief Negotiator of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, who focused in their speeches on the achievements and next steps in the process of accession to the WTO.

The main speaker of the seminar was Mr. Juan Marchetti, Advisor to the Trade in Services and Investment Division of the WTO Secretariat. Mr. Marchetti and his colleague Mrs. Evgeniya Shannon, Legal and Economic Analyst to the Trade in Services and Investment Division of the WTO Secretariat, presented practical cases to deepen the participants’ understanding of the GATS structure, obligations and principles with a particular focus on the formation of specific obligations for access of services to the market.

According to Maksim Hubski, Manager of the project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise”, up to 100 representatives of government bodies, enterprises, business associations, and higher educational institutions involved in the negotiation process took part in the seminar. He also noted that Belarus has admirably succeeded in the process of accession: 4 WTO members (EU, Canada, Ukraine and the USА) out of 14 are left to conclude bilateral negotiations on access of services to the market. So, the seminar is another practical step towards Belarus accession to the WTO.

The seminar was held within the framework of the fifth phase of the project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise”. The project is funded by the Government of the Russian Federation and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.

For more information or media interviews, please contact the Press Office of the United Nations Development Programme, email: press.office.by@undp.org , Tel. + 375 17 327 48 76

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