The European Parliament today welcomed Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and the EPP Group underlined that in order to benefit from this strong potential, it is of the utmost importance that Russia fully lives up to the obligations of the WTO.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten MEP said: “The EU and Russia are strategic trade partners and our economic relations have a strong potential that Russia’s WTO accession will help tap into. Because of Russia’s accession to the WTO, EU exporters will now find it easier to access the Russian market, and the reduction in custom duties will save us €2.5 billion a year. Moreover, there will be a more predictable regulatory environment for investments in Russia and easier access for our services industries, particularly in the areas of finance, retail and telecommunications.”
In order to benefit from this strong potential, she added, it is of the utmost importance that Russia fully lives up to the obligations of the WTO.
Inese Vaidere MEP commented: “Although Russia joined the WTO in August and we congratulate this, unfortunately it has not been duly fulfilling all its duties as a member of the organisation.”
Ria Oomen-Ruijten continued: “At the moment, we are concerned about the introduction or extension of a number of potentially trade restrictive measures like the new legislation on recycling fees for imported cars or the ban on imports of live animals from the EU. This is why we call on Russia to remove all unjustified temporary bans, temporary tariff increases and protectionist measures. Another important issue is the continuing problem of production and sale of counterfeit products in Russia.”
Moreover, according to Ria Oomen-Ruijten, even though the accession of Russia to the WTO is an important step, an ambitious, comprehensive and binding Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, covering the most important areas of cooperation, should be the objective for both the EU and Russia: “We need an agreement based on the principle of reciprocity and founded on a deep commitment to common values such as democracy, rule of law and human rights. We therefore urge Russia to contribute to re-launching the bilateral negotiations for this agreement.”
Inese Vaidere also added: “It has to be taken seriously that Russia has ceased the negotiations for the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The agreement is very important and it has to be explicit in its intentions, legally binding, and has to include all the EU’s stipulations for standards. The agreement also has to include a legally binding energy chapter.”
Finally, Inese Vaidere expressed that the adoption of this Resolution coincides with the ninth anniversary of the arrest of the former Chief Executive Officer of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “There is a concern that until the Russian Government commissions an independent and impartial investigation into the Yukos case, this and related criminal prosecutions of individuals will overshadow Russia’s reliability as a recipient of investment and a partner within the WTO framework”, she concluded.