Russia wants to leave WTO

A bill for Russia to leave the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been introduced in the State Duma.

The initiative was put forward by a group of MPs from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) who said that Russia’s membership in the WTO does not bring the country any major benefit. In particular, they pointed out that the WTO obliges each country to align the tariffs on natural monopolies in comparison to other member states, despite the fact that Russia uses its own energy resources, whereas those acquired from Europe are at market cost with fees for transportation. “These are the conditions which the Russian negotiators accepted and which Russia needs to fulfill,” - the explanatory description of the bill notes.

Year after year, the Russian government systematically increases the tariffs for fuel, communal resources, refusing to subsidize or ration, increases the direct charges and indirect taxes, the CPRF pointed out. According to the communists’ estimates, the approximate losses to the national economy caused by Russia remaining in the WTO for five years were 871.3 billion rubles, on the basis of federal budget expenses.

The estimated losses caused by opening national markets and reducing the import duty rates could be in the region of 3 trillion rubles, or 2.3% of the total output of the economy, the CPRF proposed. Most of the negative effect is felt by the agricultural sector and the food industry, the rest by the mechanical industry, light industry and other industrial sectors. Such a reduction in economic activity will result in the loss of 1.9 million jobs by 2020, the document states. The CPRF also cites information from the WTO-inform analytic center, which estimated the loss in the added value of the Russian economy at 12-14 trillion rubles by 2020 for 8 years of Russia’s membership in the WTO.

“There are no obvious benefits to Russia’s presence in the World Trade Organization. Furthermore, the detailed obligations regarding the changing of quota rates were published after signing the agreement,” the CPRF pointed out.