Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement today (11 July) on Russia’s WTO accession which is now imminent after the Russian parliament’s approval:
“Russia has now taken the last step on its long path towards membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is good news for Russia. And it’s good for the global economy, too.
Russia’s WTO accession is a key milestone for the diversification and modernization of the Russian economy, which is an important priority for Germany as well as part of its modernization partnership with Russia.
Enhanced integration of Russia into the world economy will have a positive impact on global trade. New perspectives will also open up for German companies and German-Russian trade.
Russia must now rapidly meet its obligations arising from membership and eliminate the remaining trade barriers.”
On Tuesday (10 July) the Russian Duma approved Russia’s WTO accession, with 238 out of the 447 deputies present voting in favour. The WTO Ministerial Conference approved the accession on 16 December 2011. Negotiations have been underway since 1993.
Following accession to the WTO, Russia must among other things improve legal certainty for foreign investors, reduce tariffs and subsidies and provide better protection for intellectual property.
Russia is the EU’s third largest trading partner. The EU is moreover the biggest foreign investor in Russia. Germany is Russia’s prime trading partner in the EU and Russia’s second most important trading partner in the world.