Russia becomes WTO member.

By bne IntelliNews August 23, 2012
Russia became the 156th member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after almost 20-year efforts to join the institution. Previously in July State Duma ratified the WTO accession, vote spearheaded by a pro-Kremlin United Russia majority vote despite prior concerns in the press and business community that some industries come ill-prepared for WTO rules. EconMin Andrei Belousov ahead of the voting on the Duma floor argued that should the accession not be ratified, the process of joining WTO would have to be re-launched and the terms of accession would unlikely remain as good. EconMin estimated that in 2013 and 2014 total direct losses of WTO accession would reach about RUB 445bn (USD 14bn), but it would be outweighed by growth of trade and taxation base. In March 2012 Moody's Investors Service published a report on the effects of WTO membership, in which it believed that retailers are going to benefit the most due to lower import tariffs. While big retail market share accounts for imported goods, lower import tariffs are unlikely to fully feed through to the shelf price decline, Moody's argued. Exporting companies might also benefit from better trade conditions in the USA and EU, namely metal and chemical producers. At the same time machinery builders, most of all agricultural, are believed by the agency to be not competitive on the global market and have little opportunities to improve their operational performance. Overall, lower import tariffs should positively influence the consumers, stimulate demand and support importers.

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