Communists say Russia should throw off ‘strangling noose’ of WTO
The bill on the ending of Russia’s WTO membership has been prepared by lawmakers Valery Rashkin and Sergey Obukhov.
“Russia must quit the WTO agreement to protect its agriculture, manufacturing, and other branches of economy. Russia’s membership in the WTO in times when a great number of foreign countries are introducing stricter sanctions against our country is against common sense,” reads the explanatory note attached to the bill.
“In reality it is a strangling noose on our country’s neck, and an attempt to introduce external management of Russia as a nation,” the head of the Communist Party’s legal department Vadim Solovyov was quoted as saying by the ITAR-TASS news agency.
The move was timed to coincide with the two-year anniversary of Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization, and MP Rashkin called it a “sad date.”
“Those who had actively lobbied the entry promised that it would open new markets and give access to the latest technologies, the much needed modernization, but instead we got a sharp fall in GDP growth in just two years – from an acceptable 3.4 percent to a puny 0.2 percent. Capital outflow has intensified as well as the inflow of imports that destroy domestic production. The investment activity has plunged and even the most powerful enterprises and industries are suffering from gigantic losses,” the lawmaker said in an interview with the Interfax news agency.
The sponsors of the bill emphasize that the fall in GDP growth had been seen before foreign countries introduced sanctions against Russian companies and officials. With sanctions, the situation is becoming even more serious, they add.
“Currently Russia’s foreign “partners” are violating the WTO’s foundation ideals and general guidelines as they introduce economic sanctions that limit free trade. In view of this we see no possibilities, neither for modernization through importing technology, or for opening new markets for Russian producers,” the authors of the bill wrote in a parliamentary letter.
The Communist MPs also complained that Russia’s position in the WTO not only prevents it from vetoing some especially unfavorable decisions but does not allow even basic influence on the organization’s rules and directives.
The Communist Party has protested against Russia’s WTO membership when it was in preparatory stage and the protests became more vocal after it became a reality. In September last year the party claimed it had gathered 2 million signatures to hold a vote of no confidence in government, naming the unfavorable results of joining in 2012 as one of the main reasons.