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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