Russia's WTO accession
On 22 August 2012 Russia joined the WTO as its 156th member after 18 years of negotiations. As the EU is Russia's first trading and investment partner, Russia being EU's third trading partner, this was particularly important for the EU.
With the WTO accession, Russia will:
- lower its import duties (average final bound tariff of 7.8% down from the average of 10%);
- limit its export duties;
- grant greater market access for services providers;
- facilitate rules and procedures in many areas affecting bilateral economic relations.
Of particular importance are regulations on customs procedures, the use of health and sanitary measures, technical standards and the protection of intellectual property.
WTO accession brings opportunities for Russia, not only in terms of further integration into the world economy, but also because it will help modernise the Russian economy by increasing investment, competition and technology transfer.
Apart from the multilateral deal four bilateral agreements were signed by the EU and Russia:
- on trade in components of motor vehicles
- on tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for wood - (1) and (2)
- on raw materials
- on services
However, there remain important concerns as regards Russia's compliance with WTO commitments. The EU will use all the available instruments (bilateral and multilateral) to make sure the WTO rules are respected as this is a key element to improve in the long term the trade and investment relation with Russia.
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