Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Belarus' failure to join WTO rules out full-scale economic talks between EAEU, EU, experts warn

By Dzmitry Zayats, BelaPAN

Full-scale talks on closer economic ties between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the European Union are impossible until Belarus joins the World Trade Organization (WTO), experts said in a report on the prospects for economic cooperation between the two groupings that was published on August 22.

Belarus remains the only EAEU country that is not a member of the global trade body.

Russia should support Belarus' bid to join the WTO while the EU should also facilitate this process, according to the report.

The experts suggested that the EAEU and the EU would manage to intensify their negotiations on closer economic cooperation after Belarus became a WTO member.

The report said that the EAEU and the EU could sign an agreement on closer economic cooperation and integration by the mid-2020s. "But to this end they need to solve existing political, economic and trade problems already now," it said.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka directed this past March that the government step up talks on Belarus' accession to the WTO.

Belarus has held WTO entry talks since 1993. Minsk has routinely accused the West of blocking its accession to the organization.