Russia’s WTO Accession

Author: us-russia
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Russia’s WTO Accession
Published 27-08-2012, 06:44
@kovane On Russia’s WTO Accession

 

By far the best and most comprehensive article I read on the subject: Russia at the WTO Gate: Locking the Status of a Raw-Materials Supplier, or Striding Toward a Modern Economy?

I really recommend you read it all, but here is the conclusion.

The optimistic scenario, hailed by liberal economists, proclaims almost immediate benefits for everyone. Consumer will get lower prices on a wide range of goods, businesses will become more integrated into the world economy, and the WTO will improve Russia’s law system and investment climate. The World Bank’s research forecasts a gain of 3.3% of GDP in the medium term, inflow of FDI and the reduced cost of business services. Moreover, according to the report, 99.9 percent of the households will gain from 2 percent to 25 percent of their household income, poor households slightly more than rich ones. The influence of the WTO on particular industries is presented here.

This scenario also stirs questions. The experience of Ukraine and Georgia shows that any expectation of significant price reduction is somewhat inflated. As a consequence, the described gain of households will be significantly lower. The inflow of FDI due to the lowered administrative barriers is also a very bold assumption. The WTO accession is no magic elixir to such deeply-entrenched ills of the Russian economy. And Russia is certainly not the first choice of foreign investors. But the hope for improvement in the law system is not baseless, and Russia certainly could use it, especially in the customs code and accounting.

The WTO entry is a necessary step for any country aspiring to develop a modern economy, however the timing and conditions leave much to be desired. The problems encountered by Ukraine highlight the dangers of a rash decision to seek membership in the WTO no matter the cost and an inconsistent economic policy. But the Russian government has all means to deal with the challenges of a more open economy. And the way it will carry out the complete revamping of the economic policy will be a litmus test for the ability of Putin’s Administration to modernize the economy. However, the price of error here is very high, and all that remains for the common voter is to wait and watch.

 

DaRussophile


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