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Threat of Russia’s expulsion from WTO hypothetical — industrial official

March 20, 2014, 16:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian economy would not feel any considerable upheavals if its membership was suspended, says First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev
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© EPA PHOTO KEYSTONE/LAURENT GILLIERON

MOSCOW, March 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s expulsion from the World Trade Organization (WTO) is purely hypothetic, First Deputy President of the Russian Engineering Union, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev said on Thursday commenting on collection of signatures in favor of the initiative launched in the US.

“Our country has a sufficient number of business partners in European Union countries, and they are now even more sympathetic, after Russia demonstrated its capability of asserting its national interests,” said Gutenev.

Furthermore, he said the terms, on which Russia hastily joined the WTO, were not so advantageous, and the Russian economy would not feel any considerable upheavals if its membership was suspended.

Ministers of WTO countries officially adopted Russia as a WTO member on August 22, 2012 after 18-year negotiations. Russian export-oriented companies were supposed to be the first beneficiaries of the accession, among them metallurgical, chemical and energy companies. Previously, barriers in the way of Russian goods to WTO markets had caused more than $2 billion losses.

“Most regrettably, over the 1.5 years that passed since Russia’s accession to the WTO, energy resources and commodities remained our main exports since access to mature markets for Russian goods is still restricted with non-tariff methods. These are both quantitative limitations and special requirements for certification and licensing,” said Gutenev.

In an answer to urges of some Russian politicians for Russia to voluntarily leave the WTO before any sanctions have come into force, Gutenev said Russia should not do that, especially given possible import substitution.

“We should yet master the mechanisms at the disposal of the most developed countries to turn Russia’s WTO membership from a burden into a key to resolution of financial problems and creation of new opportunities,” Gutenev believes.

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