26 December 2012, 14:55

WTO, Customs Union – good things for Russia in 2012 - Ryabkov

WTO, Customs Union – good things for Russia in 2012 - Ryabkov

Russia’s WTO ascension, further integration with Belarus and Kazakhstan as part of the Customs Union and the strengthening of CSTO were positive moments for Russia in 2012, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the Voice of Russia Wednesday.

The diplomat also praised progress in Russia’s ties with a number of countries, including Latin America.

Among the bad aspects of the outgoing year, the official named no progress in visa-free travel talks with the EU and the US-adopted Magnitsky Act which Ryabkov finds anti-Russian, detrimental and fundamentally wrong.

Mr Ryabkov still hopes that the move would not hamper Russia-US ties and further progress.

Voice of Russia

2012 Recap. Russia's joining WTO: benefits, prospects

Arina Zhdanova

Russia has become a full-fledged member of the WTO (World Trade Organization). It had a very difficult way to cover, which is why it took it so much time. Russia’s talks with its partners lasted 18 years. According to everybody’s opinion, the terms Russia managed to bargain for its accession to the WTO are favourable. Now this country is facing the task of learning how to use the WTO potential.

Russia’s accession to the WTO has become the biggest event in world trade since China’s joining the organization 10 years ago. The World Bank (WB) saw a huge potential in Russia’s joining the organization: the country’s new status will enable it to increase production by 160 billion dollars annually, demonstrating a GDP growth by 3 per cent and even more in a long-term perspective. There is also a political aspect in this, stressed by “The Los Angeles Times” which said that this success means that President Vladimir Putin, probably, will have a greater influence in international economic affairs.

Russia has set an absolute record in the length of the WTO entry talks. This is caused by several reasons, President of the Association of Regional Banks Anatoly Aksakov says.

“First, the WTO members were unwilling to grant membership in the organization to Russia. Second, opinions were split in this country on Russia’s gaining membership in the WTO. And finally, Russia has taken a firm stand on many issues, defending its interests”.

Immediately after Russia became the 156th member of the WTO, a number of import duties were reduced. Undoubtedly, this is good news for consumers because the prices will drop. At the same time, this is dangerous for the Russian industry. The point is that some branches of industry find themselves in a situation of more fierce competition. Russia’s authorities are well aware of the fact that at the initial stage of the national economy’s functioning within the WTO framework, Russian businessmen will need help. The European Union (EU) which filed a complaint to the WTO has nervously reacted to the first attempts to ensure such protection. The EU is dissatisfied with the ban with the ban on the import of live cattle, which Russia introduced, guided by sanitary reasons and also by the introduction of the car utilization ban. This is a new reality Russia must reckon with. Complaints are the norm in the WTO, and in the course of talks compromises are reached, economist Yevgeniya Voiko says.

“It is high time for Russia to decide what should be done to work or to fight with this. I don’t think that this is a long-term practice. I believe, a stake has been made on searching a mechanism that could be of help to Moscow and Brussels in coordinating general terms that would be to the liking of both sides”.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich stressed that there are branches in Russia that not only need protection, in view of the WTO membership, but that can remodel the existing rules in compliance with their own interests. Meaning in the first place, enterprises aimed at export in the field of metallurgy, chemical industry, and power production. Lifting the barriers to gaining access to foreign markets, the benefits of the above-mentioned enterprises may reach about 2 billion dollars, as experts say. Thus, during the transition period, which may last from 3 to 5 years Russia should do its utmost to minimize the negative consequences of its WTO membership and to use the WTO potential at most.

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