Belarus urges EurAsEC states to enter WTO after forming customs union

The leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan during the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) summit in Minsk will discuss Belarus' proposal that the countries should join the World Trade Organization (WTO) after forming their customs union, Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov said on 21 June.

He said the customs union is likely to be created before 2010. Belarus has consistently criticized and considered counterproductive the EurAsEC member states' current approach - to enter the WTO first and afterward adjust their national commitments within the EurAsEC to WTO obligations, Martynov said. He added that the WTO accession process of some EurAsEC countries has been blocked for political reasons.

"The preliminary discussion of our proposal showed that such an approach meets with more and more understanding," the foreign minister noted.

According to him, Belarus also proposed a draft plan to boost ties between the EurAsEC and other international organizations and alliances such as the WTO, the European Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Asian Pacific Community.

The EurAsEC includes Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The EurAsEC creation treaty was signed in Astana on October 10, 2000. The organization aims at promoting the creation of the common customs and economic space in the CIS. The coordination of WTO accession efforts of the member countries is another priority of EurAsEC.