WTO gives green light to Russian membership after 18-year bid
The World Trade Organization formally approved Russia's membership earlier today, capping an 18-year accession bid by the biggest economy outside the 153-nation trade arbiter. ITC assisted one of the country’s least developed regions by organizing a series of workshops in the Chuvash Republic to help businesses reap the benefits of Russia’s then upcoming membership.
Trade ministers in Geneva backed Russia's entry on 16 December, and Russian lawmakers are expected to give their approval in the first half of 2012. Once Russia joins, the WTO will represent 98% of global trade, Director-General Pascal Lamy said last month.
Accession brings greater market access for Russian exports through most-favoured nation status as well as a neutral platform for the resolution of trade disputes, an ITC-WTO team said during a two-day accession dialogue in Cheboksary, Chuvash Republic, in September. Russian companies will benefit as domestic reforms are anchored as a result of accession, ensuring predictability and transparency, the team said.
Russia shipped more than $400 billion in goods overseas in 2010, primarily to the European Union, Ukraine, Turkey, China and Belarus, according to the WTO. Imports were worth almost $249 billion last year while trade in services amounted to $114 billion.
Under the accession terms, Russia will gradually scale back its average tariff ceiling for manufactured products as well as duties on agricultural imports such as beef, pork and poultry. On average, the final tariff cap on Russian goods will fall to 7.8%, compared with 10% now.