Implications for the Chemicals Sector
Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will create opportunities to increase exports of chemicals and will introduce new regulations related to the energy sector, including pricing and subsidy rules. On 16 December 2011, WTO Members accepted the terms of the Russian Federation’s accession. Russia will officially become a WTO Member 30 days following the ratification of its Protocol of Accession, which will take place before 15 June 2012.
Bound Import Tariffs and Export Duties
Russia has committed to reduce its tariffs on chemical products to an average “bound rate” of 5.2%. The reduction from the current applied average tariff of 6.5% is modest but the WTO “binding” means that Russia cannot raise tariffs above this amount except under very limited circumstances. Russia may continue to impose duties on exports of mineral fuel, oil and gas, but these will be bound at levels set according to formulas that are part of Russia’s schedule of concessions.
Quantitative restrictions on imports of goods, such as quotas, bans, permits, prior authorization requirements or other requirements or restrictions that cannot be justified under the WTO provisions will be removed upon Russia’s accession to the WTO. All technical regulations will have to be developed and applied in accordance with the relevant WTO agreements and in particular with the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). Under the TBT Agreement, Russia may only apply technical regulations to the extent that they are not more trade restrictive than necessary to fulfill legitimate objectives.