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Russian average weighted customs duty to drop 2 prc after accession to WTO

April 12, 2012, 7:49 UTC+3

The average weighted customs tariff in 2011 was 10 percent and will be 7.5-8.5 percent in 2012

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MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) —— The average weighted customs tariff in Russia will go down by 2 percent immediately accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Minister of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Community Andrei Slepnev said.

The average weighted customs tariff in 2011 was 10 percent and will be 7.5-8.5 percent in 2012. New rates will apply 30 days after ratification of the documents o Russia’s accession to the WTO, Slepnev said at a press conference at Itar-Tass on Wednesday, April 11.

He believes that Russia will become a member of the WTO in August or September of this year.

The minister stressed that “the reduction of the tariff is not always a bad sign” because this spurs competition and should push consumer prices down. In addition, Russia has raised customs duties for certain goods over the past several years. Duties for sensitive goods were set at the highest possible level, and their slight reduction will not affect manufacturers.

Slepnev noted the need to adapt Russian industry to new conditions and suggested using government procurements, special protective and compensatory measures, as well as a reform of the system of state subsidies as a form of support for domestic manufacturers.

In terms of agriculture, Russia secured “unprecedentedly favourable conditions” for itself during the talks. For example, after accession to the WTO Russia will not increase the quota for beef imports but on the contrary has been allowed to cut it. “The situation is favourable in terms of agricultural produce and there is no threat there,” the minister said.

Certain threats may occur in machine-building, where tariff protection will drop considerably from 40-45 percent to 5 percent. At the same time, the Eurasian Economic Commission is considering adopting balanced decisions for the industry, specifically by introducing protective measures.

Another issue to be addressed is the protection of the Russian market of second-hand automobiles, both trucks and cars, as the customs tariff will decrease from 35 percent to 20 percent. The Eurasian Economic Commission is now drafting automobile disposal regulations.

Former Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrei Slepnev has been appointed to be Russia's representatives in the supranational body - the Eurasian Economic Commission - as a supranational minister of trade.

The key priority in the work of the new body is to intensify trade among both the “troika” of the Customs Union member states and with other countries.

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