WTO: Russia to cut average import duty to 7.8%.

By bne IntelliNews November 11, 2011
Within the framework of WTO accession, Russia is going to limit the average imports' duty on all products at 7.8%, while actual average 2011 duty stood at 10%. Average duty on imported agricultural products is not going to exceed 10.8% as compared to 13.2% and 7.3% on industrial goods vs. current 9.5%. At the same time Russia retains the right to use quotas for imports on meats and poultry. As reported this week, Fitch Ratings believes that WTO accession is going to positively influence Russia's economy by speeding up economic growth and diversifying export sales markets. Agency sees greater access to non-natural resources export markets is going to decrease Russia's vulnerability to high commodities' price fluctuations. Should Russia fully comply with WTO obligations, the investment climate will improve, facilitating investment inflow to the economy. At the same time head of IMF Christine Lagarde believes that Russia's accession to WTO has more political rather than economic benefits. Russia and Georgia announced settling the disagreements on customs controls in South Ossetia and Abkhazia which were the last obstacle on the way of Russia's accession to the organization. To remind, in early October 2010 head of Russia's delegation for the WTO talks Maxim Medvedkov said that negotiations on the WTO accession with the EU were going to be completed in several weeks. Medvedkov previously estimated that Russia's membership in the WTO and all necessary procedures might be complete by 2012, while ex-FinMin Alexei Kudrin estimated that Russia would join the WTO in 10 months. Completion on negotiations on WTO accession with USA and China was announced at the end of September 2010. Russia is the only major economy not being a part of the WTO, holding negotiations to join the organization since 1994.

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