Lengthy Process of Russia’s Accession to the WTO
The lengthy process of accession negotiations resulted in the situation when Russia took the waiting position. Three important moments should be emphasized here. First, the world trade system based on the WTO principles at the moment wants to see Russia inside more than Russia wants to join in. Second, the waiting position enables Russia to use protectionist measures against imported products without the risk of damaging Russian export, since the structure of Russian export makes Russia virtually invulnerable to retaliation measures of its trade partners. And finally, Russia and its partners Belorussia and Kazakhstan after signing most protocols with the working parties remain ready to join the WTO as fast as the WTO is ready to organize all necessary formalities and the final voting. Another unusual issue that blocks Russian accession to the WTO is the changes in Georgian position. Despite the accession protocol signed in 2004, Georgia halted WTO talks with Russia in April 2008 after the Russian government ordered the lifting of economic sanctions against Abkhazia and South Ossetia.