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Russians to feel effect of accession to WTO within 1-2 years – Duma

November 09, 2011, 19:44 UTC+3

The lawmaker forecasts “price cutting due to the development of the competitive environment”

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MOSCOW, November 9 (Itar-Tass) — Russians will feel the impact of the country’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) within one-two years, chairman of the State Duma Committee for Economic Policy and Entrepreneurship Yevgeny Fyodorov of United Russia told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

The lawmaker forecasts “price cutting due to the development of the competitive environment”. “It will begin operating since Russia’s accession to the WTO and prices will start their influence on the market approximately in a year.” “As for the investment policy, the effect will be real only within two or three years when enterprises are begun to build,” Fyodorov added.

Commenting on the automobile market, he said, “Its prices are close to the European ones if we talk about car manufacturing in third countries. As a whole this market works by common principles,” the lawmaker explained.

Speaking about the apprehensions that after the admission to the WTO world concerns will show interest in car assembly in Russia, the chairman of the committee stressed, “The automobile industry works under the WTO agreements and motives for foreign producers remain unchanged.” “We will be committed to the principles on the basis of which special agreements were concluded. They do run counter the accession to the WTO,” he said.

At the same time, Fyodorov noted that due to the accession to the WTO there “is no need to change Russian legislation because a series of laws was amended”.

Georgia and Russia signed a package of documents on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva on Wednesday, Georgian chief negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze told Rustavi-2 TV Company.

Kapanadze, who is currently in Geneva, said, “The first document is an inter-governmental agreement on customs administration and monitoring of goods trade on the internationally recognised state border.”

The second document says, “Switzerland will be the third, neutral party that a monitoring company will be subordinated to”, the Georgian deputy foreign minister said.

The third document, which was signed in Geneva, is related to the conditions for the work of a company, which monitors trade turnover between Georgia and Russia. “The document has many important issues – neutrality of the company is mentioned, i.e. Georgian and Russian citizens will have no right to conduct monitoring,” Kapanadze said. In his words, “observers will be entitled to establish trade corridor for free goods movement.”

Russian chief negotiator Maxim Medvedkov told Itar-Tass that Russia and Georgia had signed an agreement, which removes the latest obstacle for Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The agreement, which was concluded after the bilateral talks under Switzerland’s mediation, should remove the latest obstacle on the way to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Medvedkov said.

Recently Georgia’s position has been the unique serious obstacle for Russia’s admission to the WTO.

Under the agreement, the working group should gather for its final session in Geneva on November 11-12. All talks should be completed by the WTO ministerial conference slated for December 15-17.

The schedule of Russia’s entry into the WTO, which was approved in July, is being been fulfilled. According to this schedule, the final formal meeting of the Working Group will take place in Geneva on November 10-11 and the negotiations will end by the ministerial conference due on December 15-17.

The position of Georgia – the only country impeding the Russian membership in the trade organization – is a substantial obstacle.

The WTO was established on January 1, 1995, as the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that had been operating since 1947. This is the only international body supervising world trade. The WTO has the status of a UN specialized agency. It is headquartered in Geneva.

The WTO has 153 members at present. Negotiations on the admission of a new member are held within the working group, which unites countries that have unsettled trade problems with the candidate.

As a rule, negotiations focus on four areas: accessibility to the goods market, agriculture, accessibility to the market of services, and systemic matters. The candidate must bring its national laws in correspondence with the WTO rules. Two-thirds of votes of WTO members are sufficient for the admission of a new member.

Russia applied for membership in the WTO in December 1994. The number of its negotiating partners kept growing through the years, and the latest working group had 58 members – the largest working group ever in the entire history of the WTO. Six-year negotiations with the United States were the most difficult for Russia (the bilateral protocol was signed on November 19, 2006). The negotiations with the European Union also lasted for six years (the protocol was signed on May 21, 2004). Full consent was reached with the United States and the EU in the second half of 2010, and Russian officials said that Moscow was able to become a WTO member by the end of 2011.


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