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Russia is getting ready to become a full-fledged WTO member and expects some claims from trade partners

June 08, 2012, 12:59 UTC+3
Risks from the United States and the European Union should be major concerns
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MOSCOW, June 8 (Itar-Tass World Service)

In the accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Russia entered the final stage. At a meeting on Thursday the government approved the Protocol for Accession in the WTO, which was submitted in the State Duma and is expected to be ratified on July 4. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted that the country will become a WTO full-fledged member already in early August.

On Thursday, Minister of Economic Development Andrei Belousov, who was quoted by the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily, named the main advantage of the accession, “The WTO brings together more than 150 countries, and the entry in the WTO means that we recognize ourselves and are recognized as an adequate trading partner.” The newspaper noted the financial benefits can be brought from the WTO accession. For instance, the costs of Russian business will go down 10-18 billion dollars only from the changes in the customs rules.

The risks certainly exist, but the minister immediately voiced the responses to them. For instance, there is a threat of direct negative consequences of tariff barriers, particularly in cattle breeding, agricultural machine building, car making, light and textile industry, he said. The import monitoring is planned, and “we can take unilateral protecting measures to this market in case of threats to a rapidly growing imports at some market.” Meanwhile, Russia retained the right to fully rule out the participation of foreigners in state contracts.

The external risk also exists that is the claims from some trade partners and some partners already began to prepare them, Belousov said. “We should create a system to tackle these risks and a more efficient response on this direction,” the minister believes.

An analyst of the Investcafe agency Ilya Rachenkov, who is quoted by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, assumed that the risks from the United States and the European Union should be major concerns. “Most probably, the EU claims will relate to remaining non-tariff restrictions on the imports from the EU states (such restrictions as sanitary bans on the imports of some products of the food industry and agriculture, differentiated scrapping fees on cars and etc). Meanwhile, the US can challenge Russian claims to high import duties for the Russian metallurgy, he noted. “The special WTO committee for the settlement of disputes deals with these issues,” he said.

For his part, an analyst of the investment company Trade-Portal Alexei Rybakov believes that Russia will protect its agricultural industry, and it is very important in this issue not to put under threat agricultural machine building. “The main rivals in this segment are well-known long ago, this is the US and Canada. Another industry is car making, which Russia is seeking to protect, introducing special fees for the dumping of used foreign cars. In the car imports Japan and German can feel themselves infringed and also can make their claims to Russia,” he pointed out. In particular, this can be special advantages of Russian carmakers in state purchases.

Meanwhile, Rybakov noted that the warnings of the minister of economic development are only words, the business will not get down to the real development of the situation. “If lawsuits are filed, we will have to go to a compromise, and unfortunately Russian position on the foreign scene is not so strong now to protect completely its interests. We will have to go into concessions,” the expert said with regret.


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