Medvedev: Russia Can Live Without WTO

Russia will live on even if the World Trade Organization (WTO) rejects its membership bid, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.

When one of the supporters asked Medvedev to be more cautious when negotiating Russia’s entry into the WTO in order not to undermine the potential of regional agricultural sector, Medvedev said that participation in the WTO is not a priority in itself.

“All must understand, including our partners in WTO entry that this is not purely in Russia’s interests. This is in the interests of various businesses, foreign businesses and as a whole for proper regulation of the international trade flow. This is a two-way street,” the president said.

“Of course we are ready for this, but if they tell us for some reason that we are not good enough, we will survive it. This is for sure and I am completely sincere,” he added.

The 150-member WTO is an international organization set up to liberalize global trade and regulate trade and political relations between its members.

Russia remains the only major global economy to be excluded from the WTO; it has been seeking membership at the world trade bloc for 18 years but disputes with other states that are already members have stalled its accession.

Russia had hoped to conclude WTO accession talks by the end of this year, but obstacles remain over Russian insistence on support for the agricultural sector and car production.

In the fall of 2010, both the USA and the EU withdrew their objections to Russia’s WTO accession after extensive talks and the settlement of disputes.

At the same time, however, Georgia, a WTO member with whom Russia fought a brief war in August 2008 over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, continues to be opposed to its accession to the global trade bloc.

The dispute with Georgia is one of the last major hurdles in the way of Russia’s 17-year bid to join the global trade body, but the Swiss-mediated discussions broke down last week.

On Friday, the Interfax news agency quoted a top Russian trade negotiator official as saying Moscow was nearing completion of the process of joining. But the Georgian side says that optimism is at best premature.

Analyst Konstantin von Eggert says “judging by recent pronouncements from Messrs Medvedev and Putin, there may be no vote and indeed no WTO membership any time soon. Putin recently told Chinese journalists that the issue ‘depends’ on Russia’s partners in the EU and the United States. It is a clear signal to Washington and Brussels: ‘You have to lean on Tbilisi and make it agree to our membership. We shall not budge from our position.’ And Medvedev said publicly in August that the Kremlin will not change its policy vis-à-vis Abkhazia and South Ossetia in order to achieve WTO membership.”

Russia and Georgia will resume talks by October 20 to forge a deal that would let Moscow join the World Trade Organization, an outcome that the US and Europe would like to see before the end of the year.

[adrotate group=”9″]

Related Articles

Bir yanıt yazın

Başa dön tuşu
Breaking News