Source Pravda.Ru

WTO Membership: Russia Stands Its Ground

The West wants to make profit off of Russia’s entry into the WTO. Are there no other sources?
The All-Russian conference “Market of Russian Services and the WTO” was held in Moscow yesterday. This was just another reason for all parties concerned to discuss why Russia needs to enter the WTO and would results it will bring. Participants of the conference reached the conclusion that Russia immediately needs its own concept of national economic security. All recommendations achieved at the conference will be further submitted to the Russian government, which, as everybody knows, considers entry into the WTO a top priority of Russia’s economic policy.

The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that participants of the forum are sure that all suggestions they have developed will prepare the country’s for incorporation into the world trade system. In particular, these recommendations provide for the development of a scientifically grounded system of economic showings; as soon as these economic showings, reach threshold values, the national economy can be considered ready for wide-scale liberalization. It is also recommended that the government strengthen the role and responsibility of the state in the adoption of complex programs for the adjustment of the economy to new economic conditions and for the creation of a legal system for the social protection of the population. It is also mentioned that it’s important to bring national legislation into accord with international norms and requirements. The top priorities are the development of standard acts designed for the protection of national producers from unfair competition on the foreign, as well as on the domestic, market.

As for access of foreign operators to the Russian market, participants of the conference decided that it would be reasonable to impose a limitation on the presence of foreign operators in such sectors as banking and insurance services, the securities market, and transport and communications services. These limitations must be introduced for a transition period, which will last not less than 10 years. On the whole, participants of the conference declared nothing new concerning Russia’s entry into the WTO; all these suggestions are voiced at any round of negotiations devoted to the incorporation of Russia into the WTO. And Russia firmly stands its ground!

In addition, participants of the conference suggest that it’s important to use the potential of the budgetary, customs, and tariff regulations for the compensation of the losses of Russian enterprises after Russia’s entry into the WTO. This measure is supposed to be done at the expense of those economic sectors that benefit from incorporation into the WTO. And why not at the expense of profits of foreign companies that enter Russia with their goods and services after their incorporation into the international trade organization?

These were the main ideas of a report delivered by well-known protectionist, Duma Deputy Konstantin Remchukov, who is said to be close to the main opponent of Russia’s incorporation into the WTO, Russian aluminum mogul Oleg Deripaska. The Russian news agency RosBusinessConsulting quotes Deputy Remchukov as saying that scoundrels from the WTO and European Union by fair means or foul want to deprive Russia of any competitive advantages. The deputy emphasizes that the WTO specially demands that Russia equate its energy tariffs with world tariffs. What is more, the WTO demands that Russia let foreign insurance companies into its market of life insurance and obligatory insurance. Konstantin Remchukov says that all these facts prove that the European Union makes no secret of its intention to get a maximum price for Russia’s incorporation into the WTO.

If Russia meets these insolent requirements, the world market will become a supplier, not a consumer, for Russia, which consequently means that Russia will lose its only advantage in a wide range of Russian industries on the world market: the price advantage. As of now, Russia’s main objective is to increase exports and keep imports down to the lowest possible level.

This position is clear and reasonable to some extent. Russian businesses are not ready to face aggressive world capitalism and wants to be maximally protected from this collision. This is a quite natural desire. And if we need a concept of national economic security, we will get it, especially that we have enough time for its development. Why make the same mistakes several times over? President Vladimir Putin told the whole of the world that Russia had its natural advantages and won’t give them up, not for the sake of entry into the WTO or any other reason. To all appearances, we will wait until these advantages end and then see how the situation develops.

Kira Poznakhirko PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://economics.pravda.ru/economics/2002/7/21/64/4085_WTORussia.html

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