The EU has today welcomed the conclusion of negotiations for Russia's accession to the WTO.
Today's unanimous approval by the Members of the Working Party on Russia's WTO accession brings an end to this 18 year long process and paves the way to formalising the results of these negotiations by the entire Membership of the WTO.
Benefits for the EU of having Russia in the WTO:
It would open up opportunities in the Russian market for EU investors and exporters alike. Russia's import tariffs would come down and there would be a limit on export duty levels for a list of essential raw materials.
WTO accession would improve the overall business and investment climate. Russia would adopt international product standards and WTO rules in a number of areas such as customs procedures, licensing and intellectual property.
Accession and the ensuing economic reforms would help to make Russia's economy more transparent and predictable. This would create a strong incentive for foreign companies to boost their investments in the Russian economy – in all sectors.
Russia's entry in the WTO will have an estimated value for the European Union of €3 900 million.
EU-Russia trade in facts and figures
Russia is the EU's third largest trading partner after the US and China with an 8.6% share of EU trade in 2010.
The EU is Russia's biggest trading partner with a 45.8% share of its overall trade in 2010. Total trade with Russia amounted to €244 billion in 2010, compared to €183 billion in 2009. Imports from Russia increased by 31.4% in 2010, and exports from the EU to Russia went up by 38.2%.
The EU is by far the most important investor in Russia. It is estimated that more than 75% of the investment stock comes from the EU.