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Russian WTO Bid Approved

by Tatiana Smolenskaya,, Moscow

21 December 2011

World Trade Organization member states approved Russia's bid to become a WTO member at the 8th Ministerial Conference held in Geneva on December 16, 2011.

Russia will have to ratify the deal within the next 220 days and would become a fully-fledged WTO member 30 days after it notifies the ratification to the WTO.

At the WTO plenary, trade ministers welcomed Russia as a new member to the Organization and called the nation's accession a historic achievement. Ministers agreed Russia’s accession to the WTO will strengthen the multilateral trading system, making the WTO a more universal organization.

WTO Director-General, Pascal Lamy commented: “This is a historic moment for the Russian Federation and the rules-based multilateral trading system. After an 18-year marathon, the finish line has been crossed. This is a double win for Russia and the WTO. The package we have just adopted is the result of hard technical work, led by modernizing political leadership.”

At the plenary, Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, read a special message from the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, to the Ministerial Conference which said that this accession was the result of a long and complex negotiation and would be favourable to both Russia and WTO members. He added that the WTO will contribute to securing international economic stability and that Russia stood ready to contribute to its work.

Russian Economic Development Minister, Elvira Nabiullina, said: “This is an event we have been awaiting for a long time. In these difficult times, risks of protectionism are looming on the horizon and Russia will contribute to combat protectionism as a WTO member.” She added that this accession was not a finishing line but a starting point for Russia.

At the end of the meeting, Lamy and Nabiullina officially signed the protocol of accession.

TAGS: Russia | tax | business | export duty | law | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | import duty | regulation | trade

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