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Georgia playing into hands of Russia2010-06-30 13:25
There is an impression that Georgian leaders have nothing else to do but make Russia's blood boil. The range of dirty tricks is not great, still there is something. This time it's WTO accession as a lever to put "pressure" on our country. Georgia sticks to its conditions on Russia's accession into the World Trade Organization, Zurab Alavidze, deputy minister of economic development of Georgia stated. "We reiterate our stance on Russia's accession in WTO and we will stick to it despite the US President's statement that the process should be speeded up", - he said.
Georgia is a WTO member with the right to veto admission of new members with unsettled trade issues. Up to now Georgia remains the only state that opposes Russia's accession into WTO.
So what do the Georgian leaders want from us? Joint control over customs checkpoints in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and lifting of embargo on Georgian produce - no more and no less.
It is believed in Tbilisi that without Georgia's consent Russia will be unable to join the trade organization. But, it should be remarked, Georgia is not part of the working group in charge of Russia's accession into the organization and can't unilaterally block Russia's WTO entry that was postponed for an indeterminate period in August 2008 because of the aggravation of the situation in Caucasus. However, the events in Caucasus are not the main problem impeding Russia's accession. It is also the global financial crisis that made lots of countries forget about free trade and focus on heavy regulation of domestic economies.
Georgians are perfectly aware that Russia is their main market while others should be tamed first with vague prospects for success. It seems evident now that according to non-official information, indirect damages exceed USD 300 mln which makes return of Georgian produce to Russian market one of the priority issues.
However, Georgia - no matter how important it wants to look - is not a problem. What's important is the gain Russia wants to yield as a member of the organization. Russia plans to harden requirements in 150 services sector out of 156. One of the industries that won't suffer more stringent regulations is insurance. Under current legislation, a foreigners' share in overall capital of insurance companies shall not exceed 15%. As for other services sectors Russia plans to increase foreigners' shares in capitals of Russian banks to 25% and to 75% in capitals of securities market operators. WTO requirements are considered in laws on special protection, anti-damping and compensational measures, on currency and technical regulation and in the law on state regulation of foreign trade as well as the Customs Code of the Russian Federation. The Russian law today meets almost every demand of the trade organization.