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Sunday, 24 June 2018


WTO: The Agreement Signed

10.11.2011  |  22:01

WTO: The Agreement Signed. 24316.jpeg

- Alexey, the agreement between Russia and Georgia, which opens the door to the World Trade Organization for our country, has finally been signed. What steps and actions will follow this event?


- The agreement between Georgia and Russia is signed, and tomorrow or later there will be held a meeting of the Working Party on Russia's accession to the WTO, where a recommendation to the ministerial conference will be given. This is not a quick timetable and the dates were agreed upon after reaching all agreements between Moscow and Tbilisi.

- Until recently, it seemed that the negotiations would not break the deadlock. Tbilisi tried to get the major political dividends through the WTO. So, the question "who won?" is probably in terms of the agreement. What is the status of the borders at Psou and Rokksky tunnel how will be called the border in the outcome document of the agreement: Georgian-Russian or Russian-Abkhaz and South Ossetian-Russian?

- There won't be wording "the Russian-Georgian section of the Abkhaz border," or "Russian-Abkhazian segment of Georgian border", as Georgia insisted earlier. Thus, it is a compromise where Russia emphasized its understanding of status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But at the same time, Georgia rightly believes that this agreement reflects the fact that these territories are part of it.

- The uniqueness of the consensus, proposed by Swiss, is that the monitoring of goods turnover at the borders will be implemented by a neutral party. And how do you see this process in practice, when the private is linked to public?

- This case is unique in its own way, I do not remember such precedents in the history of international economic relations, including in the framework of WTO accession.

- A compromise on WTO has agitated public opinion in Abkhazia. Initially, the country negatively perceived the compromise, allowing Russia to join the WTO. Later, Abkhaz authorities have stated that "when agreeing to an international audit of its own territory, the Russian Federation in no way questioned the sovereignty of the Republic of Abkhazia and the act of recognizing the independence of Abkhazian state". And yet, how do you think, can the Swiss consensus damage Russian-Abkhazian relations?

- Indeed, in Abkhazia, there were a lot of public debate and the reactions of the authorities on this agreement, because it could somehow infringe on the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But as I understand it, the principle of these corridors is that observers will be both at the Russian side and at the Georgia's. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not affected. This is the best possible option, which takes into account their interests.

- Alexey, please tell me, how the signing of agreement was preparing?

- The story is quite complicated and not very public. The fact is that the negotiations between Russia and Georgia began in Switzerland in March this year. But Moscow has not commented them, since the two countries have no diplomatic relations. In recent months, Swiss side worked hard to present an acceptable for both parties document. I can only say one thing: Bern has remade this agreement at least ten times - honed the wordings.

- Today, some experts argue that the compromise on Russia's accession to the WTO is a diplomatic victory for Moscow, while others say that it is a victory of Tbilisi. In general, in your opinion, are these concepts compatible: triumph and compromise? Maybe we should talk about the "golden mean"?

- The fact that those and other views have the right to exist. And it just captures the essence of compromise. Endless arguments directed are against the essence and meaning of compromise; and it is precisely to arrive at a solution which respects the interests of both parties. I believe that it's pointless to identify the winner in this matter.

So, the meeting of the Working Party on Russia's accession to the WTO will be held November 10-11, and if it approves the documents on Russia's accession, then they will be considered at the ministerial conference of WTO member countries, scheduled for December 15-17. If there is no objection, Moscow will begin the ratification documents, and 30 days after the ratification the Russian Federation would become a full member of WTO.

Anton Krivenuk

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