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Putin Assails Western-Created Economic Groupings


http://gdb.rferl.org/5EC3BF77-9060-40D8-86EE-5DC99BF19BCA_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/5EC3BF77-9060-40D8-86EE-5DC99BF19BCA_mw800_mh600.jpg President Vladimir Putin addresses the economic forum in St. Petersburg on June 10 (ITAR-TASS) June 10, 2007 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin used an address at an international economic forum in St. Petersburg today to call for a revolution in world economic relations.


Putin said current institutions created by the West were "archaic, undemocratic, and inflexible."


This is "clearly visible in the example of the [World Trade Organization (WTO)]," he added.


Speaking to an audience of world leaders and top chief executives at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said the emergence of developing economies "demands the creation of a new architecture of international economic relations based on trust and mutually beneficial integration."


Russian officials have reportedly sought at the conference to reassure global business elites that the country is a desirable partner despite strains with the West.


Russia has sought since the mid-1990s to join the WTO, and senior Russian officials were in talks today with U.S., European, and WTO officials.


WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy has said that "without Russia, the WTO is not really the multilateral institution it wants to be; and without belonging to the WTO, Russia has not yet created the sort of capital of trust in the future of its economy."


"If 50 years ago, the [Group of Eight] countries accounted for 60 percent of the world's GDP, the current situation is vice versa -- about 60 percent of world GDP is produced beyond their borders," Putin said.


(AFP)

Russia's Contentious WTO Bid

Russia remains barred from entering the WTO (epa)

WILL RUSSIA GET ITS WISH?

"It is of the utmost importance for us to complete talks this year in order to take part in a new political cycle with the status of a WTO member" -- Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref; April, 2007.

Russia has made clear its desire to enter the World Trade Organization ahead of parliamentary elections in December and presidential vote in March 2008.
But despite the removal of a major obstacle when the United States signed off on bilateral negotiations with Moscow in November 2006, Russia's accession to the world's largest trading bloc still faces difficulties:

Before Russia's bid can go to the WTO for a majority vote, bilateral negotiations must be completed with any current members who wish to do so. Russia hopes to wrap up outstanding negotiations -- with Cambodia, Vietnam, Georgia, and Guatemala -- by July.
Although Russia and Georgia initially completed bilateral negotiations in 2004, Georgia rescinded its approval over Moscow's failure to establish customs controls between Russia and the Georgian breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced in April that Washington is not yet prepared rescind the Jackson-Vanik amendment. The Cold War-era legislation, adopted in response to Soviet restrictions on the emigration of Jews and other minorities, prevents normal trade relations with Russia.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov in April was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying: "If there are requirements that have not been not applied to other countries joining the WTO, we should not follow them."
Moscow may have to conduct bilateral with Kyiv in the event Ukraine joins the WTO before Russia does.


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