Russia’s partners in the BRICS grouping of large emerging nations called on Thursday for Moscow to be granted membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as soon as possible.
"Brazil, India, China and South Africa extend full support to the early accession of Russia to the World Trade Organization," a joint English-language declaration issued after a summit in the south China resort of Sanya read.
Russia, the only large economy outside the global trade club, has been negotiating its entry into the WTO for 17 years.
In December, Russia and the European Union reached agreement on railway tariffs that were a stumbling block in bilateral negotiations on Russia's accession. The WTO has said that Russia could join this year.
One remaining obstacle is the refusal of WTO member Georgia to approve Russia’s membership bid. All member states have to give the green light to a country’s bid before it can join. Tensions between Russia and its small South Caucasus neighbor came to a head in the August of 2008 when the two countries fought a short war over the breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia.
The declaration also said the BRICS countries would continue to work to deepen bilateral “economic, trade and investment cooperation.”
“We encourage all countries to refrain from resorting to protectionist measures,” the declaration also read.
Speaking after the summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the BRICS countries had also determined a joint position on the reform of the international monetary system and ways to deal with price instability on global agricultural markets.
The latter issue was one France set as a priority of its presidency in the G-20 this year. Earlier this week, Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said France had asked Russia to clarify its position at the BRICS summit. The BRICS countries plan to decrease volatility on international raw materials markets primarily envisages better regulation of the derivatives market for commodities.
On the international monetary system, the BRICS declaration said that “the governing structure of the international financial institutions should reflect the changes in the world economy, increasing the voice and representation of emerging economies and developing countries."
Medvedev said the BRICS member states would put forward their positions on both issues at the next G-20 summit.
The reform of Special Drawing Rights (SDR), an artificial currency issued by the IMF which consists of the dollar, euro, yen and pound, was also discussed. Russia and China, two aspiring reserve-currency countries, have been seeking a broader discussion at G-20 summits of the dollar's dominant role in international finance
However, most experts say that high inflation hampers Russia's aspirations.
"We support the reform and improvement of the international monetary system, with a broad-based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty. We welcome the current discussion about the role of the SDR in the existing international monetary system including the composition of SDR’s basket of currencies,” the declaration read.
SANYA (China), April 14 (RIA Novosti)