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Belarus

Belarus

In response to Belarus' lack of commitment to democracy and political and civil rights, the EU has not yet ratified the bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded with Belarus in 1995.

The bilateral trade and economic relations therefore remain covered by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement  - concluded by the European Community with the Soviet Union in 1989 and subsequently endorsed by Belarus.

Belarus applied for membership of the WTO in 1993. Its accession process is ongoing.

Trade picture

  • The EU is Belarus' second main trade partner with almost a one third share in the country's overall trade. Russia is Belarus' most important trading partner and absorbs almost half of Belarus' international trade.
  • The EU-Belarus bilateral trade in goods has been growing steadily over the past years.
  • Belarus' exports to the EU are dominated by mineral fuels. Other product categories - such as chemicals, agricultural products, machinery and textiles - all form a much lower share.
  • The EU exports mainly machinery, transport equipment and chemicals to Belarus.

EU-Belarus "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 4.3 7.2 2.9
2012 4.6 7.8 3.2
2013 3.4 8.6 5.2

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2012, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2012 0.1 1.9 1.8

More statistics on Belarus

EU and Belarus

Although trade between the EU and Belarus has grown in recent years, the EU has suspended moves towards closer economic partnership with Belarus until political and civil conditions improve in Belarus.

This is the reason why the EU has not yet ratified the bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded with Belarus in 1995.

Furthermore, in June 2007 the EU withdrew its trade preferences to Belarus under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, in response to Belarus' violations of the core principles of the International Labour Organisation.

  • The removal of the trade preferences in 2007 did not halt Belarus' exports to the EU. It simply returned Belarus' import tariffs to the standard non-preferential rate.
  • Once Belarus has shown that it respects basic trade union rights, the EU is ready to reverse its decision.

The EU has also introduced an Outward Processing Trade regime for Belarus. This regime provides for additional import quota amounts for textiles and clothing manufacturers within the European Union so they can produce garments in Belarus that will return to the EU after processing.

Trading with Belarus