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27 Aug, 2008 02:19

Business sees upside to WTO accession delay

The Russian government sees no prospect of Russia joining the World Trade Organization in the next year, according to first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov. But the postponement of Russia's entry – which is likely to be a casualty of tensi

The Russian government is slowing down the process of entry into the World Trade Organization with 18 out of 20 necessary agreements already concluded.

The outstanding issues to be resolved are customs duties on industrial products, and support for agriculture, including subsidies to domestic producers.  Andrey Danilenko, Head of the National Union of Dairy Producers sees the delays as a chance to make sure that Russia enters the WTO with the same support mechanisms that other nations are already providing.

“Dairy producers consider WTO entrance as inevitable and we are not against imported products. We just want the same condition the governments of other countries give to their producers. We need a support system, for example. Now we have loans for 8 years, and abroad they get loans for up to 30 years.”

The decision to postpone accession could be most beneficial to businesses like agriculture, machine-building and the financial sector.  More time for development and enhancing competitiveness will assist domestic producers according to Yaroslav Lissovolik, Chief Economist at Deutsche Bank.

“The fact that Russia will postpone the implementation of some of these commitments in these sectors will give some additional breathing space for these segments of the economy to prepare for what eventually will, I think we all hope, be greater competition within the country and greater competition on the part of Russian producers with their counterparts abroad.” 

Russia's accession process has already taken15 years and the nation has already undertaken many economic obligations for entering the WTO.  Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that Russia will join the organization one day, but now on more favourable terms.