Russia has completed WTO accession procedures

Russia sent a note to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday indicating that it has ratified the accession protocol - the final step on its path towards becoming a full member, head of the Russian Economic Development Ministry's trade negotiations department Maxim Medvedkov told Interfax.

"Permanent representative of the Russian Federation at international organizations in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin, gave the WTO's management the so-called instrument of ratification on Monday in Geneva - a note confirming Russia's execution of the procedures necessary for the accession protocol to enter into force," he said.

Russia has therefore completed all of the procedures needed for WTO accession. Within 30 days - on August 23, 2012 - Russia will become a full WTO member.

On that date, Russia will be obligated to lower a number of import duties that it raised during the crisis of 2009. Because of this, a new Customs Union tariff will have to be published on Monday as well, which will become effective a month later, on August 23.

At the moment of its accession, Russia will lower only so-called "anti-crisis" duties that were increased for several goods in 2009. For example, import duties on new passenger vehicles will have to be lowered from 30% to 25% at the moment of accession - later they will experience a gradual reduction to 15% over the course of seven years.

Russia's Economic Development Ministry estimates that after all of the transition periods for lowering import duties to their final levels are complete, around half of all rates will remain at a level no lower than the Customs Union's current effective unified customs tariff. Around 30% of the rates will be lowered by no more than 5 percentage points.

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