Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation
Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation
Russia's second trade policy review took place at the WTO
1 November 2021 14:58

On 27 and 29 October, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) conducted the second review of Russia's trade policy.

The Trade Policy Review Mechanism occupies an important place in the WTO system of tools to ensure transparency of members' trade regimes and assess their compliance with their obligations under the multilateral trading system.

The event looked in detail at Russia's economic and trade policies since the previous review in 2016.

The discussion was based on the reports that are prepared according to the standard WTO procedure for trade policy reviews. One was prepared by the Russian side, the other by the WTO Secretariat. The reports contain detailed descriptions of various aspects of a country's trade and economic policies (macroeconomic policy, fiscal policy, competition, government participation in the economy, participation in regional trade agreements, customs and tariff policy, import/export restrictions, trade protection measures, subsidies, non-tariff regulatory measures, market access for services and investment, intellectual property, etc.).

The review predictably attracted a lot of interest from most participants. Russia received more than 1,100 written questions from 40 delegations and more than 50 WTO members made mostly positive comments and assessments. Macroeconomic and fiscal policies were considered stable and prudent. Almost all the speeches contained high praise for the Government's efforts to diversify the economy, support small and medium-sized businesses and develop women's entrepreneurship. The improvements in customs and tariff policies and the full implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation were much welcomed. Russia's active role in the WTO negotiations and preparations for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference was highlighted.

"The reporting period was characterised by a number of positive changes in the regulation of investment activities in the Russian Federation," said Ekaterina Mayorova, head of the Russian delegation and director of the Department for Trade Negotiations at the Ministry of Economic Development. According to her, some of the mechanisms introduced in Russia have attracted particular attention from WTO members, as evidenced by the questions submitted. These include business climate transformation, the regulatory guillotine, regulatory sandboxes, and the mechanism of investment protection and promotion agreements, which has provided a predictable environment for major investment projects.

"We have taken note of the many questions we have received on Russia's environmental policy. Significant work has also been done in this area," continued the director of the Ministry's department. For example, the recently adopted law on limiting greenhouse gas emissions introduced mandatory reporting of emissions by major emitters. The law has also created incentives for voluntary climate projects. "Since last year, green finance has been developing intensively. A draft taxonomy for green projects is in its final stages. On the instructions of the President, the Russian government is currently working on a long-term low-carbon development strategy. As a continuation of the target scenario trajectory, it includes going carbon-neutral no later than 2060," she said.
Russia's next trade policy review at the WTO is scheduled for 2026.

Дата публикации: November 1, 2021
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