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Unit 4 Macro: Russia Joins the WTO

Sunday, January 22, 2012
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I am using Russia’s entry to the World Trade Organisation in my teaching on international trade and development this term. It appear to be a significant moment for the global economy. Russia is the last member of the Group of 20 major economies to join, after China gained membership in 2001. Progress towards membership has been delayed by numerous geo-political issues not least the disputes with neighbouring Georgia.

Joining the WTO involves making a commitment to the rules of the international trade system - for Russia as with other new members, this will mean reduced import tariffs, the staged elimination of industrial domestic and export subsidies, and better greater access to foreign companies. Russia will also have to improve adherence to international accounting standards.

* Russia’s average bound tariff will be 7.3 percent for manufactured products (compared with 9.5 percent currently)
* Farm tariffs will be 10.8 percent (compared with 13.2 percent currently)
* Russia commits to zero export subsidies on agricultural products - to end by 2017
* Russia will privatise 100 pct of United Grain Company by 2012
* Russia will introduce duty-free and quota-free provisions for the least developed countries
* Russia will eliminate preferential tariffs for carmakers making large investments in Russian-based production by July 1, 2018
* Russia plans to introduce International Accounting Standards

How would you use a supply and demand diagram to show the impact of a fall in an import tariff?

Russian exports as a share of her GDP has actually been on a declining trend in recent years. Will movements towards trade and foreign investment liberalisation reverse this through trade creation and FDI effects? How can a stronger commitment to becoming an open economy supprot higher living standards over time? What are the risks for Russia of WTO accession?

Russia - exports as a share of GDP

Data from Timetric.

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World Bank from Timetric

Per capita incomes in Russia

Data from Timetric.

To view this graph, please install Adobe Flash Player.

World Bank from Timetric

This AlJazeerah news report from Dcember 2010 is excellent in showing the high relative prices of consumer products in Russia ahead of Russia joining the WTO. It can be used to consider the possible impact on consumer and producer welfare if Russian markets are opened up.

 

BBC news video

Russia set to join World Trade Organisation

Telegraph: Oleg Deripaska: ‘wealthy time’ has ended for the eurozone

Russia joins World Trade Organization (August 2012)

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