Rushing towards WTO membership, Russia signals compromise on timber

Dmitry Medvedev, Igor Shuvalyov (Photo:

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalyov on Monday confirmed that Russia will compromise on round timber export tariffs in order to speed up talks on WTO membership.


In a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev this week, Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalyov, confirmed that a compromise deal will soon be handed over to the EU Commission.

-We understand that the entry into the WTO is a more significant issue [than the export tariffs] and we have [therefore] tried to find a compromise decision which will please the interests of investors […], Shuvalyov said.

-We will go to Brussels with these offers and will in the next days have talks with commissioners of the European Union, he added, a transcript from the meeting reads. Igor Shuvalyov is in charge of Russia’s WTO membership talks.

Russia is under pressure to handle all remaining stumble stones before the country can become member of the trade club. Membership in the organization is one of President Medvedev’s top priorities and has been high on his foreign policy agenda.

Read also: Russia takes leap towards WTO membership

While Russia now has firm support from the USA on its membership bid, the country still has unsolved issues with the European Union. The EU Commission is not happy with Russia’s boost on export tariffs on round timber, a measure which is severely hurting both Finnish and Swedish timber processing industry, and has indicated that this issue needs to be resolved before Russia gets membership. The issues of timber and WTO membership are expected to be on the agenda in the upcoming December EU-Russia Summit in Brussels. Finland is believed to be the EU country pushing hardest in the talks.

Read also: Will Finland delay Russian entry into WTO?