Putin signs Russia into World Trade Organization: Kremlin
[Al Ahram] President Vladimir Putin
...Second President of the Russian Federation and the first to remain sober. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits he is the current Prime Minister of Russia. His sock puppet, Dmitry Medvedev, was installed in the 2008 presidential elections. Putin is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing something like the rule of law. During his eight years in office Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase, poverty decrease and average monthly salaries increase. During his presidency Putin passed into law a series of fundamental reforms, including a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes. Under Putin, a new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy has emerged, all of whom have close personal ties to Putin. The old bunch, without close personal ties to Putin, are in jail or in exile...
on Saturday signed the bill ratifying Russia's entry to the World Trade Organization after 18 years of often acrimonious negotiations, the Kremlin press office said.
Economists have long argued that Russia needed to join the WTO as it was the only major economy outside the body -- following China's membership in 2001 -- and the government hopes accession will stimulate growth.
The measure making Russia the 156th WTO member will become law within 30 days, after the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved it on 10 July and the upper house, the Federation Council, on Wednesday.
But the membership has also been controversial, with some medium-sized firms expressing concern they will be put out of business by being unable to compete against imports made cheaper by a reduction in customs tariffs.
The reduction of the tariffs was a key condition for Russia entering the WTO and they will fall from a current average level of 9.5 per cent to 7.4 per cent in 2013, 6.9 per cent in 2014 and 6.0 per cent in 2015.
According to the World Bank, WTO entry will bring a boost worth 3.3 percent of Russian GDP -- or $49 billion -- in the first three years after joining. Over 10 years, the gain will be worth 11 percent of GDP, it says.
But Senator Sergei Lisovsky warned this week that Russia was wholly unprepared to compete without trade protection against other world economies which were more used to competition and were considerably less corrupt.
Russia's journey to joining the WTO started back in 1993 but was marked by frequent rows with Western partners, objections by its foes and not least a sometimes lukewarm attitude on the part of the Russian leadership.
Posted by: Fred