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Russia Officially Joins WTO
23.07.2012 10:48
Russia Officially Joins WTO

Russian President has signed the bill ratifying the country's accession into the World Trade Organization after 18 years of complicated negotiations. Earlier the bill was approved by the State Duma on July 10 and supported by the Upper House on July 18. The measure making Russia the 156th WTO member will come into force within 30 days, roughly on August 23.

      The document stipulates that Russia, as a WTO member state, will undertake to comply with the obligations of the Marrakesh Agreement. In particular, Russia will have to lower import duties, to 7.8% from 10% and open up investment in sectors such as telecommunications. On a contrary, duties on exports will be limited, and foreign service providers will have an easier way to Russian markets.

      But the membership has also been controversial, with some medium-sized firms expressing concern they will be put out of business by being unable to compete against imports made cheaper by a reduction in customs tariffs. The accession's supporters say the quality of goods and services will become better because of international capital flows and business competition.

      Russia has been negotiating about WTO entry since 1996 and was the last big country to be out of that organization. According the recent opinion polls, only 39% of the population welcome Russia’s WTO membership, compared to 59% in May 2003.

Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: WTO Russia WTO entry Russian business   

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