Russia and Georgia signed an agreement that removes the last obstacle to Russia’s WTO

Ussia and Georgia signed here today a bilateral agreement relating to customs administration and monitoring of trade in goods. The document, which achievement is the result of which lasted from March of bilateral negotiations, and conducted through the mediation of Switzerland, should remove the last obstacle to Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization / WTO /, a process that lasts for 18 years.

The fact that the document was signed at the ceremony closed to the press Itar-Tass confirmed head of the Russian delegation at the negotiations on accession to the WTO, the head of the Department of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Economic Development Minister Maxim Medvedkov.

Until recently, the only serious obstacle to Russia’s accession to the WTO remains the position of Georgia. Tbilisi demands related to customs checkpoints on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sections of the border with Russia. Last week, the delegation of the Russian Federation and Georgia have reached agreement on a draft bilateral agreement.

The agreed draft, according to Medvedkov, “based on the concept proposed by us and not go beyond the principle of the Russian position. It corresponds to the prevailing realities in the region and does not conflict with WTO rules.” According to him, the document envisages, in particular, the involvement of an independent firm to audit the data on trade. These data are Russia and Georgia as members must send in an integrated database of the organization. The company will also help the customs services of Russia and, accordingly, Georgia, in particular issues of customs administration.

On November 10-11 at WTO headquarters in Geneva scheduled for the final formal meeting of the WG. It all team members / 60 countries / should be approved package of documents on Russian accession to the WTO. After that, documents are received at the WTO ministerial conference, scheduled for December 15-17.

At the moment, the WTO unites 153 states, which account for 95 percent of world trade. Russia applied to join the WTO in 1994.

9 November 2011

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