Belarus is ready to pay to a US law firm for their support in transferring Belarus from the group of countries having non-market economy status to the ‘market economy’ one. The corresponding decree was published in the national legal online portal.
It is the US company Crowell&Moring that will render assistance to the Belarusian authorities. The transaction charge has not been made public. It is also unknown what specific services the Belarusian government is expecting from the law firm.
There is every likelihood that Belarus’ interest in the status of a market economy country is driven by the intention to join the World Trade Organization.
Earlier, the Belarusian Oil Company that wanted to get permission for selling petroleum products in the United States as well as for the acquisition of crude oil in the country hired American lobbyist David Genkarelli. If his contribution to the company’s obtaining the license from Washington is successful, he will be paid $60,000.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
Belarus’ Working Party on the accession to WTO was established on 27 October 1993. Belarus is the only European country that is not a member of it. In 2016, Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka questioned the advantages of Belarus’ entering the World Trade Organization. According to him, the WTO actually ‘exhausted itself’.
In November 2018, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas said that Belarus might complete the process of joining the World Trade Organization by 2020.