Russia will not cancel its new car assembly rules for foreign companies for the sake of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
"We are continuing a difficult dialog with the European Commission and our American partners on accession to the WTO. They are insisting that we should cancel our requirement for foreign firms to produce a minimum 300,000 cars annually and 60 percent local component production," Putin said.
"We've said that our position on the issue is permanent, that this is a red line which cannot be crossed, as we can't go against the interests of our producers."
Under the new regime, foreign car producers setting up industrial assembly in Russia will have to build at least 300,000 vehicles a year for several years, while those companies which already assemble vehicles locally will have to increase output to 350,000. The new terms also include a requirement that semi knock-down car production should not exceed five percent of output.
Russia, the only large economy outside the WTO, has been negotiating the entry for 17 years compared to the five to seven years it has taken most member countries. However, Russia and its partners have said Moscow can join the trading club this year.