Trade Alert: Russia’s WTO Membership and the Gains for Russian Exporters

Russia's recent accession to the WTO has the potential to bring numerous benefits to Russian exporters. Membership will result in improved access for Russian exports in foreign markets — including the EU, the United States and China — where Russian exporters will be entitled to the same non-discriminatory treatment as that accorded to exporters from other WTO Members in those markets.

Although the WTO is a treaty regime between sovereign states, the main beneficiaries are private companies. The legal agreements of the WTO — covering trade in goods and services, food safety measures, technical regulations, intellectual property rights and investment measures, among others — provide the legal ground rules for international trade and seek to ensure that governments apply their domestic regulatory systems within certain agreed-upon limits. Where other WTO Member governments fail to adhere to those limits and instead impose barriers to trade, the Russian government, on behalf of its exporters, can challenge those violations through the WTO dispute settlement process.

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