After a 19 year long process, Russia today officially joined the World Trade Organization, the club which regulates about 97 percent of global trade.
The WTO membership is expected to help Russia modernize its economy and facilitate cross-border trade. In a tweet, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt congratulates Russia with its new-won membership, saying that “it should help the necessary modernization of the country”.
In a press release, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy says Russia’s membership “undoubtedly will strengthen the multilateral trading system”. From the date of accession, Russia has committed itself to fully apply all WTO provisions, with recourse to very few transitional periods.
However, Russia is at the same time taking a number of measures on how to protect its industries under the new conditions
Leader of the Department of Trade Negotiations, a unit under the Ministry of Economic Development, confirms in an interview with RBC Daily that a new strategy on the protection of national interests in the WTO is in the pipeline and will be presented in the course of fall. According to Maksim Medvedkov, the new strategy will include both measures on the protection Russian industry and ways how to promote WTO membership also for Kazakhstan and Belarus.
In an interview with Itar-Tass, Minister of Economic Development Andrey Belousov underlined that the Russia external trade policy will be “sufficiently aggressive”.
The membership in the organization was achieved thanks to major efforts made by former President Dmitry Medvedev. The country in late 2011 officially got the necessary green light from the other 155 member states. The membership agreement was subsequently ratified and signed in mid-July, whereupon it took another fourty days to formally enter the organization.