Russia approves WTO membership…

The State Duma has ratified the protocol on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) despite protests by the parliamentary opposition parties. 

The document that opens for the country a door into the world trade club was supported by all members of the majority United Russia (238 deputies). Members of opposition factions – 201 deputies from the Communist party, LDPR and Fair Russia – voted against.

Earlier on Tuesday, a group of protesters representing the Communist Party (KPRF) gathered in central Moscow, waving banners reading “WTO accession – road to the abyss!” and “WTO will strangle Russia!” 

Opinion polls show that the Russian people are also split down the middle on whether the country should join the WTO. Thus, the authorities are working overtime to assure the public that Russia will only benefit from entering the organization, vowing “there will be no negative consequences.” 

“We believe that the increase in prices of many goods will at least considerably slow down,” said Economic Development Minister Andrey Belousov.

The minister also stated there is no danger of a rise in unemployment following Russia’s accession to the WTO.

At the same time, Belousov admitted that the country’s budget may lose up to 188 billion rubles (US $ 5.6 billion) next year and 257 billion rubles (about US $ 7.7 billion) in 2014 as a result of Russia’s entry in the organization. However, he said, real losses are expected to be smaller because of overall trade growth.

Welcome to the club Russians.  It’s easy to say “there will be no negative consequences” for joining… but, I’m still waiting for the positive consequences of my country joining in 1995 (I got news for you; there is none… we got NAFTA et al).  The WTO supersedes policy at the national level.  Whatever industry you have will feel the effects as cheap good flood into you country.

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