Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama confirmed on Friday (1 October 2010) in a telephone conversation that bilateral talks on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization are complete. “The sides said that in line with agreements reached at their talks in Washington, bilateral talks on Russia’s accession to the WTO are complete” Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said.
Russia has been in negotiations for WTO membership for 17 years compared with the average accession period of five to seven years and is the only major economy outside of the global trade body. Consent from all 153 WTO members is necessary for a state to join the organization. Remember that “Georgia will not support Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO)” said in mid-September Sergi Kapanadze, director of Georgia’s Foreign Ministry’s International Organizations Department.
While Putin earlier this week was skeptical, saying that Russia is unlikely to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the projected date of January 1, 2011, though the country will make all possible efforts to fulfill this goal. In contrast, President Medvedev’s optimism proved to be confirmed by reality. This summer Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he hoped Russia would complete negotiations on its accession to the WTO by yearend.
Update: “Russia must do a deal with Georgia over customs controls on their internationally recognized border if it is to pursue its goal of joining the World Trade Organization” said on Thursday, October 14, Georgia’s first deputy foreign minister, Giorgi Bokeria, quoted by Reuters. Russia called Georgia’s demands absurd. Fierce opposition of Georgia to the entry of Russia into the WTO will most likely not have any purpose, no matter what legal arguments will be invoked. But her voice is enough to provoke the Kremlin’s nerves. Like a fly buzzing. It’s not dangerous, but you can get crazy!