The negotiations on Russia's ascension to the WTO can enter the final stagein 2003 after reaching major agreements on the conditions for it. Thisinformation was released in the Forecast of Social and Economic Developmentof the Russian Federation for 2003 and Major Parameters of the Forecasttill 2005, prepared by the Russian Economy Ministry for today's meeting ofthe government.In 2002-2003, bilateral protocols on conditions of Russia's ascension toWTO are to be signed with country members of the WTO task force. Thesedocuments might be approved by 2004. After this, the WTO General Councilcan decide on Russia's joining this organization. The Ministry stressedthat it was necessary to agree on conditions suitable for Russianproducers.In a less favorable event, the negotiations might take longer if the taskforce would insist on Russia's accepting the conditions beyond the WTO'scompetence, or on too many concessions for access to Russian markets,including liabilities in agriculture.If Russia enters the WTO in 2003-2005, its trade partners will have toadjust restrictions applied to Russia in accordance with WTO regulations.Russia will have the right to apply to the WTO for settling internationaltrade disputes and an opportunity to participate on an equal basis indeveloping regulations for international trade.Additionally, the WTO will grant Russia access to cheaper foreign rawmaterials and spare parts and various services. It will also protectRussian exporters on foreign markets, as one of WTO's major functions is toprovide equal conditions for all its members.This step will not bring about a plummet in import barriers and a surge ofimports; neither will it influence Russian industry negatively. As for agrowth of labor efficiency and an increase in national competitiveness inthe long term, they will most likely be the most important results ofascension to the WTO, the report says..
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.