HANGZHOU (Sputnik) – The decline in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) global standing and emergence of "closed" regional trade partnerships is a matter of serious concern, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday at an informal meeting of BRICS leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China.
"The WTO situation is a subject of concern," the Russian leader said, adding that the World Trade Organization "is losing its credibility due to the stagnation of the Doha Round negotiations and losing its status of the only truly global negotiating forum for the drafting of world trade rules."
The latest round of WTO negotiations, Doha Round, which was launched in 2001, stalled due to debate between developed and developing nations over such issues as agriculture, services and tariffs, leading to a 16-year-stalemate that has cast doubt on the organization's decision-making ability.
"As a result, the process of creation of closed associations, such as the Trans-Atlantic and the Trans-Pacific partnerships, aiming not to complement but substitute the WTO, is gaining momentum. We believe it is ‘an answer’ of some of our partners to the difficulties we had met during the negotiations in the WTO framework," Putin said.
The activity of the Eurasian Economic Union, including the talks on integration of its strategies with China's Silk Road Economic Belt, is based on those principles, Putin said.
"I believe that all this could eventually contribute to the emergence of a broad Eurasian partnership, open to cooperation with all interested countries and integration associations," he added.
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is an economic association founded by Russia and also including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
In 2015, Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping signed a joint declaration on cooperation in coordinating the development of the EEU project and the Silk Road Economic Belt.