Russia won’t make it into WTO this year

An important lesson from the last round of WTO negotiations was that economies close to joining WTO should make every effort to get in before the negotiations are over. Russia has given up on joining at the Hong Kong ministerial conference in December, but it has still at least six months after that to complete the accession negotiations.

There’s no deal with Washington yet, and it’s unlikely there’ll be one, now, before the December meeting of WTO Ministers

“Although accession talks are making steady progress, a small number of outstanding points—including Russian energy price subsidies and import duties on industrial goods such as airplanes—has delayed Russia’s entry, said Maxim Medvedkov.”(Moscow Times)

Future agriculture policies and swallowing the constraints of the TRIPS agreement on intellectual property are also controversial in Russia.

It’s important that Russia (and Vietnam, for that matter) do everything possible to join before the end of the current round of negotiations. The new agreements reached in this round will apply to all members, including newly acceded countries.

But economies that join after the negotiations are over the won’t be able to take advantage of the scheduled implementation delays that current members provide for themselves to introduce the new agreements. As China—which tried to join WTO before the end of the Uruguay Round—found in 2001, a late-commer has to take the new obligations like a cold shower.

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