Исследовательский Центр ИПМ
Kasrtyčnicki Ekanamičny Forum

PDP/13/07 Belarus’ WTO Accession: Impact on Domestic Business

The paper describes the results of the survey of enterprises conducted by the IPM Research Center in order to identify their views on the impact of accession of Belarus to the WTO on the country’s economy and national business. The results of the survey show that Belarusian enterprises are generally positive about the possible accession to the WTO. The number of those who believe that the country should become a member of this organization in the near future is significantly more than the number of those who do not agree with this (44.7% and 9.9%, respectively). According to the survey, the representatives of Belarusian enterprises believe that membership in the WTO will promote the economic development of Belarus, both in the short-term perspective and, especially, in the long run. In particular, they expect growth of attractiveness for foreign direct investment of the sector or industry in which they operate. Despite the fact that the enterprises understand that accession to this international organization will lead to increased competition, the majority of them do not carry out any measures to adapt to the conditions of Belarus’ membership in the WTO and count on government support to a great extent. However, both private and state-owned enterprises do not expect the state to provide direct compensation of losses from the budget, but primarily to improve the business climate. It was called a top-priority measure by 43.5% of state-owned and 37% of private enterprises. An important conclusion to be drawn from the survey is the lack of knowledge among enterprises both about the basic rules and regulations of the WTO (only 23.3% of the respondents stated they were aware of them) and a wide range of issues related to the country’s accession to this organization. This is particularly evidenced by a high proportion of businesses that found it difficult to answer the survey questions. In turn, this means that businesses cannot articulate their position and interests and communicate them to business associations, ministries, departments and local authorities, who, in turn, cannot report them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the body responsible for negotiating, and to the representatives of the Belarusian delegation at the negotiations.