After 18 years of negotiations, Russia joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as its 156th member today. This accession is particularly important for the EU, as the EU is Russia’s first trading partner and Russia is the EU’s third trading partner. For the first time both entities will be bound by multilateral rules and obligations for their mutual trade.

“Today’s WTO accession is a major step for Russia’s further integration into the world economy”, said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. “It will facilitate investment and trade, help to accelerate the modernisation of the Russian economy and offer plenty of business opportunities for both Russian and European companies. I trust that Russia will meet the international trading rules and standards to which it has committed.”

The WTO accession will have a positive impact on the conditions of trade and investment between Russia and the European Union. The geographical position of Russia and the importance of its market in terms of volume and growth make it a very important trading partner of the EU. As a consequence of the WTO accession, Russia will amongst others lower its import duties, limit its export duties, grant greater market access for EU services providers and facilitate rules and procedures in many areas affecting bilateral economic relations. Of particular importance will be regulations on customs procedures, the use of health and sanitary measures, technical standards and the protection of intellectual property.

Russia will be subject to WTO rules in all these areas, including its monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. The EU, together with its international partners, is in contact with Russia to ensure that it respects these WTO commitments.

Source: EU Neighbourhood Info