Russia becomes WTO member

Russia becomes WTO member

Russia has become the 156th WTO member today. The protocol on joining the WTO was signed in Geneva on December 16, 2011, after 18 years of negotiations, RIA Novosti reports.

Russia takes up responsibilities of the Marrakesh Treaty. It has 2-3 years for liberalization of market and 5-7 years for the most sensitive goods.

The Eurasian Economic Commission approved a new tariff which comes into force on August 23. The average custom fee dropped from 9.6% to 7.5-7.8%. A third of goods will have custom fees drop on the next day. This mainly concerns return of import fees raised in 2008-2009.

One of the main issues was agriculture. Russia will only be able to spend $9 billion on agriculture in 2012-2013 and $4.4 billion in 2018. Russian Minister for Economic Development Andrey Belousov said that the country will not choose support volumes for a long time. About 1.509 trillion rubles will be spent on agriculture in 2013-2020. Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said that that the 8-year program will receive 2.28 trillion rubles of financing, including 770 billion rubles from regional budgets.

Export fees for soya beans increase to 20%, at least 35 euros per ton. Fees for hydrocarbons remain unchanged. Gas stays at 30%, other resources at 5%.

Economic operators making $900 billion of income in world trade annually will make $18 billion, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The WB says that joining the WTO will give Russia 3.3% of the GDP in 3 years annually and then 11% (about $162 billion) in ten years.

Lifting barriers in export will provide 40,000 workplaces. The maximum sum of custom fees will drop from 100,000 rubles to 30,000 rubles.

Maksim Medvedkov, Director of the Department for Trade Negotiations of the Russian Ministry for Economic Development, said that prices for products will start dropping in 3-5 years.

Russia will lose 188 billion rubles in 2013 and 257 billion rubles in 2014, Belousov said.

Russia has been striving to join the WTO since 1993. Negotiations were concluded in November 2011. Active negotiations started in 1995. Brussels and Washington dragged the talks in 2008. Russia planned to join the WTO with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The Constitutional Court of Russia approved WTO membership on July 9. The parliament passed the bill on July 10, approved by the Federation Council on July 18, 2012. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the bill on ratification of the protocol on joining the WTO on July 15.

Algeria had the longest negotiations to join the WTO, starting in 1987.



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