Friday, November 11, 2011

Russia's accession to the WTO

News of Russia becoming the latest member of the WTO, since it first applied in 1993, is abound. The WTO website made a formal announcement in this regard listing out the various commitments that the large economy would have to make in order to fulfil it's obligations as a member of the WTO.

In an extremely warm letter to the Chairman of the Working party on Russia's accession to the WTO, the US Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations and other International Organisations welcomed the final stages of accession of Russia and opined that "the package that we have approved today is good for the United States, good for Russia, and good for the WTO."

US lawmakers think otherwise or are not yet convinced. The lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans stated in a letter that Russia must take  "transparent, substantive and prompt actions to battle rampant intellectual property theft before it can join the World Trade Organization". The thrust of the letter seemed to suggest that Russia's enforcement of intellectual property rights was weak and mandated strengthening.

Can the US continue with domestic legislation that discriminates against Russia once Russia has become a WTO member? The impact of  Russia's accession on the Jackson Vanik amendment needs to be studied further. A CRS Report for Congress on impact of Russia's accession to the WTO does throw light on this matter.

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