Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev is ambivalent toward Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization.
While speaking about Russia's attitude to the conditions of the Russia-EU treaty on Russia joining the WTO, Mr. Gordeyev said: "I feel ambivalent. On the one hand Russia's agricultural industry has not lost anything. Russia has managed to secure itself the right to support its farming sector with an amount that is much larger than we can afford ourselves.
"On the other hand, we will face double standards. And these double standards put the WTO's ability to be the center of decision making in regulating world trade in doubt."
Mr. Gordeyev said that he had several questions regarding the terms of Russia's accession to the WTO: "Why can the EU allocate 40 times as much money per hectare to support its producers as compared to any country joining the WTO, including Russia? Why do protective measures in the EU surpass those in Russia many times, for example import duties are 3-4 times higher? Why can the EU restrict deliveries of food from other countries and apply more than 80 kinds of quotas, and Russia is constrained by such possibilities?
"All of these questions enable me to draw the conclusion that the WTO has reached the limit of its resources. It is incapable of protecting developing states from the arbitrariness of developed countries. It cannot pursue the goal it was set up for-liberalizing world trade and the rational distribution of productive forces in the global economy," the minister said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Thursday, June 24.
In his opinion, the UN is the last organization capable of establishing fair economic rules. "That is why the questions I mentioned above should be formulated in political language and discussed at the United Nations," he said. "If this is not done, all of these problems will persist throughout our integration into the world market and negatively affect the quality of life."
Mr. Gordeyev's visit to New Zealand begins on Thursday and will last until June 27.
Within the framework of the visit Mr. Gordeyev will meet with Jim Sutton, New Zealand's minister of agriculture and foreign trade, Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope. He will visit several of New Zealand's large agribusinesses and take part in a briefing on agricultural issues with Murray Sherwin, the director general of New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
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