The Russian consumer will only gain from Russia's joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), Russian Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Maksim Medvedkov told RIA Novosti on the eve of a regular round of bilateral talks with the US on Russia's joining the WTO. Medvedkov heads the Russian delegation at the talks.
"This will only have a positive influence on ordinary consumers," Medvedkov said. "Joining the WTO means a more competitive market, that is, better range of merchandize, more high-quality and cheaper goods and services." "This is the main principle of the WTO," he added. "It is not in vain that the preamble of an agreement with the WTO starts with the words: 'In order to enhance the wellbeing and living standard of people, the sides decided to conclude this agreement ...'." However, as in any rule, there are exceptions here, Medvedkov noted. "They relate to those sectors where Russia intends, as of the moment the market is opened, to toughen the level of protection and raise customs duties." The deputy minister cited the automobile market as an example. "The consumer will temporarily lose, as regards cars," he said. "He will lose today in order to gain tomorrow." It will take domestic producers several years to make a competitive product. After that, the consumer will get high-quality and cheaper automobiles, he said. "We'll have to be patient for a while to live better afterwards," said Medvedkov.