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Wednesday, 25 April 2018


The Promised WTO

2011-12-20 14:12

The Promised WTO. 25879.jpeg

Among Russian economists there are no people remaining indifferent to the agreement on Russia's accession to the WTO. Half of the experts is categorically against it, half is for it. The negotiators promise only positive effects, and argue that they knowingly bargained on the WTO 18 years - they have achieved favorable conditions. But judging by the actions of the Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, who is always used to the detriment of Moscow, nothing good from the consent of Georgia on Russia's WTO accession can be expected.

It's a holiday for the Russian liberals. Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina and WTO Director General Pascal Lamy have signed a protocol on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization. On this occasion even ex-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who has gone to the opposition, came to Geneva to applaud the signatories. The head of state corporation RUSNANO Anatoly Chubais, who foretold the imminent convergence with the EU in the economic sphere, also was glad.

Alexander Shokhin, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, insisted that "we have joined the WTO in the unprecedented favorable conditions".

Even the secretary of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan Sergey Glazyev, who previously was worried of hasty accession to the trade organization, after signing the protocol optimistically declared that Russia has bargained itself twice more favorable terms than the Ukraine three years ago. "We managed to defend its national interests better", he noted.

But have they managed? For some reason, the opposition party "Fair Russia" and the Communist Party are going to stand against the ratification of the protocol, signed by Nabiullina, in State Duma.

The crisis of the euro zone will soon threaten Russia since they will have to cancel the protective measures in the form of higher interest rates on imports. For domestic producers influx of foreign goods means bankruptcy and liquidation. The head of the association "Rosagromash" Konstantin Babkin called the WTO "absolute evil" which will result annual losses in half trillion rubles.

Many economists assess the reached agreements very critically. Andrei Kobyakov debunks the dreams of investments, which negotiators had promised: "If we join the WTO, the investment would be pointless: why build factories, if you can just deliver the finished goods?" Eugene Korchevoi, contradicting Glazyev, argues that Russia has entered the WTO on less favorable terms than Ukraine - for example, in terms of grain quotas. Another expert Andrei Parshev is confident that with the dominance of the import domestic production will come to naught and soon the Russians will have nothing to sell, which means that even the cheapest goods will become unaffordable. As it was with Ukrainians, Georgians and Kyrgyz people, who have clearly lost after entry into the WTO. They have lost food independence, and the population has so impoverished that was on the verge of starvation. In Russia, however, it is not so clear. We'll have what to sell at least for another 50 years - oil, gas, wood, metal, leather - in a word, the raw materials. But the economy won't become richer because of this, as we'll have to buy ready-made products with the increased cost.

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