Russia’s Ouster From WTO Would Jeopardize West & Global South’s Development, Scholars Warn–global-souths-development-scholars-warn-1099830007.html


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“




Sputnik International


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

Sputnik International


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

wto, opinion, europe, us, economy, developing countries, brics, china, russia

wto, opinion, europe, us, economy, developing countries, brics, china, russia



Exactly 10 years ago, Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade. In the wake of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, some Western states have advocated for Russia’s removal from the WTO. Is that possible and how could it backfire?

“[O]usting Russia from the WTO would have a number of negative consequences, for Russia, of course, but also for other WTO countries, and even more so for all those countries that to date have been benefiting from the Russian WTO membership, particularly as regards the oil market and a number of industrial or consumer goods,” says Sergio Rossi, professor of macroeconomics and monetary economics at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Since its accession to the WTO, Russia has helped integrate Eastern and Asian countries into global trade and contributed to economic growth as well as firms’ profits, notably in those Western countries that imported a lot of Russian oil, iron, and steel, according to Rossi.

“The Russian participation in the WTO enlarged the spectrum of the latter so that it now covers all major economies around the world,” the academic emphasizes. “On geopolitical grounds, it also helped counterbalance the US power, contributing to reducing the asymmetries and the monetary dominance of the US dollar at the global level. For the EU, Russia’s participation in the WTO gave rise to two major benefits. On the one hand, the EU member countries have been in a position to increase their exports to Russia, hence also the EU firms’ profits. On the other hand, these countries’ economies benefited from a huge reduction of their importing costs, as regards different trade barriers (tariffs and patents in particular).”

The professor notes that Russia’s impact on trade and investment within the framework of the WTO has been positive, given that it facilitated the expansion of foreign trade across the global economy, thereby creating jobs and investment opportunities for a number of Western countries.

Similarly, Russia’s WTO membership has played a crucial role for the Global South as Moscow has often thrown its weight behind developing countries, highlights Dr. Anuradha Chenoy, professor of the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“Russia has been a responsible member of the WTO,” Chenoy stresses. “On many issues Russia sided with the countries of the Global South, because of rules like ‘Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights’ and patents were not in favor of developing countries. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, India and South Africa proposed an exceptional and temporary waiver on COVID vaccines, which were under patent by Western pharmaceuticals. Many countries of the South backed India and South Africa’s demand. So did Russia. But the Western block did not allow the patent regime to be diluted and big corporate profits continued. Many people in the South could not get the vaccine as a consequence.”
Blossoming of wheat in a fitotronno-hothouse complex in the National center of grain of P.P. Lukyanenko in Krasnodar - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2022

Moscow Calls for Joint Work on Resolving Trade Issues Within WTO to Solve Food Crisis

Russia’s Ouster From WTO is Highly Unlikely

The Russian Federation has been a member of WTO since 22 August 2012. Prior to that, it had worked hard for 19 years to meet the organization’s requirements. After the beginning of the special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine, Russia was stripped of its “most favored nation” status, with some Western nations calling for the removal of the country from the international entity. However, as Reuters explained back in March, “expelling Russia, which joined the WTO in 2012 after 19 years of negotiations, would be extremely difficult as there is no specific expulsion process.”

“Ousting Russia from the WTO is not possible under the current WTO Agreement, as it does not encompass such a possibility,” says Rossi.

He points out that Russia could be expelled only if two-thirds of the 164 WTO member countries backed such a decision which is highly unlikely. Neither China nor many other countries, including BRICS members, will ever agree to expel Russia “in light of economic advantages these countries benefit from having Russia within the WTO,” according to the academic.

For his part, Chenoy underscores that Russia’s hypothetical expulsion could create a disturbing precedent which “would be harmful for global trade and the rules-based order and international law.”

This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.08.2022

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Meanwhile, Russian lawmakers have also weighed the pros and cons of Russia’s WTO membership. In April, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin instructed relevant chamber committees to study the advisability of Russia’s presence in the organization. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia advocated for the nation’s withdrawal from the WTO, arguing that Russia’s accession to the WTO has made the nation’s enterprises less competitive than their Western peers and failed to shield the country from Western sanctions.
For his part, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov argued on May 5 that Russia’s exit from the WTO would, in particular, deprive the country of the opportunity to develop new rules for global trade. In addition to that, the WTO still remains an important tool to support Russian exports, the minister wrote in a letter, obtained by Russian media outlet RBC.
Controversies pertaining to the WTO were also discussed by BRICS members during the group’s 14th summit in June. The leaders of BRICS states agreed to pursue “the necessary WTO reform” to build an open world economy and called on all WTO members to avoid unilateral and protectionist measures that run counter to the spirit and rules of the WTO.

“This WTO reform is welcome,” says Rossi. “This reform should include also an agreement to dispose of the actual international monetary disorder, which is the result of the US dollar dominance that allows the United States to record enormous ‘trade deficits without tears,’ as the French economist Jacques Rueff noticed in the 1950s – that is, shortly after the 1944 Bretton Woods agreements, which put the US dollar at the center of the current international monetary regime. Time has come to get rid of this monetary disorder, which is a factor of financial instability and crises as well as of geopolitical turmoil across the global economy.”

China's President Xi Jinping (L), Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd L), Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (C), India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd R), and South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) attend to a meeting with members of the Business Council and management of the New Development Bank during the BRICS Summit in Brasilia, November 14, 2019. (Photo by Pavel Golovkin / POOL / AFP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.07.2022

Global Power Shifting Away From West, While BRICS Expanding & Increasing Legitimacy

How West Has Shot Itself in the Foot

Meanwhile, the decision of the US, the European Union, Japan, and Canada to strip Russia of its “most favored nation” trade status will have a long-term negative impact on the global economy, according to Rossi.

“The global economy will suffer from this decision, because there will be an increase in the costs of foreign trade for all countries involved,” the academic forecasts. “For instance, importing Russian oil and iron in the EU will cost more, as the importing firms will have to pay higher tariffs, which they will transfer to the so-called ‘global value chain’ through a higher mark-up of their own production costs.”

As a result, one might expect “a mushroom growth of consumer prices, which – as we can observe now – implies a number of negative consequences for all stakeholders, particularly for the poor and the middle class, but also for small as well as medium-sized firms in Western countries,” Rossi notes.

Europe is struggling to tame galloping inflation, which has been further accelerated by the anti-Russia energy embargo. The annual inflation rate in the EU climbed to a record high of 9.8% in July, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Likewise, inflation among the Eurozone countries hit a new high of 8.9%. The lowest annual rates were registered in France, Malta (both 6.8%) and Finland (8.0%), while the highest annual rates were recorded in Estonia (23.2%), Latvia (21.3%), and Lithuania (20.9%).

For its part, Russia won’t be affected as dramatically as the West, as it is increasingly turning to the East and South, which can be bigger beneficiaries of trade with Russia, who is a prominent supplier of hydrocarbons, commodities, wheat, etc., according to Chenoy. Similarly, Russia’s development within the BRICS framework is promising to be beneficial for the country and its partners.

“Countries of the BRICS together have a bigger GDP combined now than the G7 countries,” Chenoy notes. “Trade in national currencies, new transport corridors can help the BRICS grow even further.”–global-souths-development-scholars-warn-1099830007.html Russia’s Ouster From WTO Would Jeopardize West & Global South’s Development, Scholars Warn

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