April 3-4 2018
Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)
The European Union needs our meat market. But does Russia need the WTO?

Published: January 11th, 2018

Russia will not withdraw from the WTO. In the Ministry of Economics, they answered the Federation Council. Earlier in the Upper Chamber, they threatened to leave the trade organization. The reason is that the EU demands almost 1.5 billion euros. They are associated with a ban on the importation of European pork. Than it threatens us and that Russia has given six-year membership in the WTO?

In this dispute, as it is supposed in the WTO, there is a great spirit of trade. Russia at the beginning of 2014 banned European pork. The reason is the outbreak of the African plague. At the same time, Brussels complained to the WTO. About a year ago, the organization sided with the EU. And in December, Moscow reported that it abolished the old restrictions.

It cannot be said that the decision was given with difficulty. European pork cannot be imported into the country anyway, because the pro -embargo operates. But this has nothing to do with swine fever, so that formally all obligations are fulfilled. The European Union of this, of course, is not enough: it needs not formalities, but our meat market. Therefore, the EU demanded compensation of almost 1.5 billion euros. However, you need to understand - it is not about live money.

Alexei Linetsky, Chairman of the Moscow Legal Agency: "Even if Russia for some reason does not formally retain its right to the pork embargo, it will not directly collect this money. In the WTO, such procedures are not envisaged. Certain preferences from Russia, which it received by becoming a member of the WTO, can be simply withdrawn ".

If the WTO supports Europe, it can raise duties for Russian goods or reduce the volume of Russian imports. But maybe not to do it all on a voluntary basis. However, the Federation Council immediately resented and threatened Russia's withdrawal from the WTO. The Ministry of Economics responded that such an opportunity is not even considered. Russia has been in the trade organization for exactly six years. Before entering the WTO, there were arguments to hoarseness: whether we need it or not.

Those who are for convinced that otherwise we will not become global participants in world trade. Those who opposed shouted that it would kill our agriculture. As a result, neither one nor the other has happened. Rather, on the contrary. We initially did not really understand what we want, recalls director of the Institute of Economics RAS Ruslan Grinberg.

Ruslan Grinberg, director of the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, co-chairman of the IEF: "If you do not know where to go, you will never have a tailwind. Since we did not have an industrial policy, as, indeed, now there is not particularly, then it is not clear what needs to be defended. A vivid example is our negotiations on subsidies to agriculture. When we did not have any, we struggled to be allowed to have them. It was a pity that we became members of the WTO. Well, then what? In free trade, the strong always gets more advantages than the weak ".

As practice shows, in the disputes between Russia and other countries, the WTO is not on our side. For example, a year and a half ago the organization supported the EU, which was outraged by Russian duties on imported refrigerators and palm oil.
But Europe calmly and without looking at the arbitrators imposed protective duties for our chemistry and steel. It came to ridiculous. According to the world organization, we compete unfairly, because our goods are inexpensive because of cheap energy. According to this logic, we need to drastically reduce hydrocarbon production and slow down our fast, full-flowing rivers.

But when the sanctions began between Russia and the West, the WTO did not interfere at all. In the organization's charter, there are exceptions - war or extraordinary international circumstances. And since we have continuous extraordinary circumstances in recent years, it's not up to the WTO.

Source: bfm