MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin told international investors Wednesday that his government is planning protectionist measures to give an edge to domestic manufacturers in a move that will cause consternation among fellow World Trade Organization members.
Putin said at the VTB Capital annual investment forum in Moscow, however, that the measures will be in line with WTO rules.
The Russian leader accused long-time WTO members of exploiting the organization, which is dedicated to removing trade barriers, in the interests of their businesses and trade. He argued that Russia’s protectionist plans were in line with the policies of other countries and said that global trade was becoming increasingly “hidden and subtle.”
Putin singled out European Union energy policies as an example of protectionism. Russia has said repeatedly that the EU’s insistence on the separation of gas production companies from their transmission networks is aimed specifically at damaging the commercial interests of Russian state gas company Gazprom.
The European Union last month published a report naming Russia and several other developing nations, including Argentina, Brazil, India and China, as global leaders in the application of potentially trade-restrictive measures.
Russia joined the WTO last year after almost two decades of accession negotiations and is already facing complaints over WTO violations from a several members, including the United States, the European Union and Japan.