Despite the difficulties facing Russia’s economy amid the global credit crunch, the country has not abandoned its plans to join the World Trade Organization, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“Despite continuing doubts in some circles, joining the WTO without unnecessary delays is still a priority of Russian foreign policy. Of course, it may be true that during a crisis period it is better to be outside the WTO system, but we take a long-term view and are aware of our international responsibilities,” Sergei Lavrov told a meeting of European businessmen.
He said Russia views WTO membership as “a necessary condition for improving the commodity structure of our foreign trade and GDP, and therefore a means for Russia of taking its rightful place in the international labor setup, in the future economy.” However, the minister stressed that Russia is not ready to join the WTO “regardless of the price” involved.
Moscow had expected to join the 153-member global trade body by the end of next year, but the accession process has dragged on due to a number of political and economic factors.
Russia is the only major world economy still outside the WTO. The agreement of all 153 WTO members is necessary for a state to join the global trade body. The majority of analysts believe that Russia will not join the WTO earlier than 2010. (rian.ru)