Finland eyes new golden opportunities in Russia
Russia's WTO membership can have a substantial positive impact on the Finnish GDP, Minister of European Affairs Alexander Stubb says.
Speaking at a a seminar on EU-Russia trade and economics relations at Kalastajatorppa, Finland, the Finnish minister said that “all in all, Russia's WTO membership can have a substantial positive impact on the Finnish GDP, exports and new jobs”. However, the minister at the same time questioned whether Russia would fully “comply with the rules”, underlining that “the implementation test is still to be taken”, a press release reads.
The seminar, which was organized by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Confederation of Finnish Industries, included a number of prominent leaders of European and Russian trade affairs and companies, among them EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht.
In his presentation at the seminar, de Gucht underlined that “Russian WTO accession presents a golden opportunity to improve relations between the EU and Russia, particularly in terms of economy”. His words were followed up by Russian WTO accession chief negotiator and representative of the Ministry of Economic Development Maksim Medvedkov, who stressed that Russia’s WTO membership “will be of benefit to both Russia and the EU”. The Russian official also underlined that Russia will act according to the WTO rules, stressing that ”we will not behave like a great Russian bear.”
President and CEO of the Finnish energy company Fortum Tapio Kuula added that for foreign investors, the central challenging factors in Russia include the rule of law, bureaucracy and corruption. Concrete needs for change in Russia include harmonisation of technical standards and making visa and work permit procedures less complex, Kuula underlined. The Fortum leader at the same time underlined that the EU should also carefully listen to the concerns of Russian companies.
As previously reported, Finnish paper and pulp companies are expected to be among the ones benefiting most from the Russian WTO deal. According to Finnish paper and pulp major UPM, the Russian WTO deal will give a doubling of timber exports to Finland within only a couple of years.