November 10, 2011 / 12:06 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's commitments in WTO accession

 (Updates following emergence of WTO details)	
 Nov 10 (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization
finalised terms for Russia's membership on Thursday, enabling it
to gain final approval from WTO trade ministers at a meeting in
December and to join the body early next year.  	
 To gain admittance, Russia had to bring its own laws into
line with WTO rules and satisfy the 153 existing members that it
is committed to enforcing WTO standards.  	
 Following are selected extracts from its accession
agreement, spelling out specific commitments by Russia.     	
	
 TARIFFS:
 Russia's import tariff ceiling will average 7.8 percent,
compared with an actual 2011 average of 10.
 The average ceiling for agricultural import tariffs will be
10.8 percent, lower than the actual average of 13.2.
 The average ceiling for manufactured goods will be 7.3
percent, compared to an average of 9.5 now. 	
 Import tariffs on information technology products, currently
5.4 percent, will be zero. Cotton imports will also have a zero
tariff. 	
 One third of tariff ceilings will be in place from the date
of accession. A quarter will come into force after 3 years.
Those for cars, helicopters and civil aircraft will come in
after 7 years and for poultry after 8 years.
 Average duties after full implementation of tariff
reductions will be as follows:   	
 IMPORT              TARIFF CEILING       CURRENT TARIFF	
 Dairy products        14.9 pct              19.8 pct	
 Cereals               10.0                  15.1 	
 Oilseeds, fats, oils   7.1                   9.0  	
 Chemicals              5.2                   6.5 	
 Automobiles           12.0                  15.5 	
 Electrical machinery   6.2                   8.4 	
 Wood and paper         8.0                  13.4 	
 Sugar               $223/t                $243/t	
 	
 SERVICES	
 Russia will scrap the foreign equity limit, currently 49
pct, in telecoms four years after accession.	
 Foreign insurers will be able to open Russian branches 9
years after Russia accedes.	
 Foreign banks will be allowed to establish subsidiaries.
There would be no cap on foreign equity in individual banking
institutions, but the overall foreign participation in the
banking system will be limited to 50 percent. 	
 Russia will allow 100 pct foreign-owned companies to engage
in wholesale, retail and franchise sectors upon its accession to
the WTO. 	
 	
 MARKET ACCESS	
 Importers of alcohol, pharmaceuticals and products with
encryption technology will not need import licences. 	
 	
 GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT	
 Russia plans to join the WTO's voluntary Agreement on
Government Procurement and will initiate negotiations for
membership within four years of joining the WTO.	
 	
 SUBSIDIES	
 Russia commits to zero export subsidies on agricultural
products. It will also scrap value-added tax exemptions for
certain domestic agricultural products.	
 Total trade-distorting agricultural subsidies will not
exceed $9 billion in 2012 and will be reduced to $4.4 billion by
2018.	
 Russia will limit subsidies for specific agricultural
products in relation to overall agricultural subsidies in each
year until the end of 2017. In the draft text, total
product-specific support is limited to 30 percent of general
subsidies, but that figure is in brackets, indicating it is
provisional.	
 Russia will eliminate all industrial subsidies, or make sure
they are not dependent on exportation or favour local goods over
imports.	
 	
 AVIATION	
 Russia will amend rules on aircraft leasing to ensure that
foreign-made aircraft can qualify for the same benefits and are
as attractive to Russian airlines as Russian-made planes.	
 But Russia does not plan to join the WTO Agreement on Trade
in Civil Aircraft.	
 	
 PRIVATISATIONS	
 Russia will privatise 100 pct of United Grain Company by
2012.	
 Russia will privatise 50 pct plus one share of
Rosagroleasing (aka Rosagrolizing) no sooner than 2013.	
 Russia will report to WTO annually on privatisation
progress.	
 	
 CUSTOMS FEES	
 Russia will cut maximum customs clearance fee to 30,000
roubles from current 100,000 roubles and simplify procedures.	
 	
 CARS	
 Russia will eliminate preferential tariffs for carmakers
making large investments in Russian-based production by July 1,
2018.	
 	
 PLANT AND ANIMAL HEALTH	
 Russia plans to put a new law on plant quarantine into force
on Jan. 1, 2012.	
 Russia plans to pass a new veterinary law in 2012.	
 Russia, in its customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan,
will work out a common list of quarantine pests and
phytosanitary requirements to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2013.	
 	
 GAS	
 Russia intends to develop market-based pricing for the
domestic gas market.	
 Russia aims to ensure gas producers and distributors can
profitably supply industrial customers, but will keep regulating
prices for households and non-commercial users.	
 	
 RAILWAYS	
 Railway transportation costs for Russian domestic produce
and imports and exports will be equal by July 1, 2013.	
 	
 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY	
 Russia commits to pursue criminal charges against illegal
optical disc production at government-controlled sites.	
 Russia will lower the threshold for taking action against
trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.	
 Russia will eliminate non-contractual administration of
rights by the beginning of 2013.	
 Russia will hold organisations engaged in collective
management of rights accountable to ensure that right holders
receive remuneration due to them.	
 Russia will lift its reservation to the Berne Convention for
the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works before it joins
the WTO.	
 	
 EXPORT DUTIES	
 Russia will cut export duties on ferrous waste and scrap
from (the lower of) 15 percent or 15 euros per tonne in the year
of accession to 5 percent or 5 euros per tonne over 5 years.	
 Russia will cut export duties on copper cathode from 10
percent in the year of accession to zero within four years.	
	
 (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Robert Woodward)	
 
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