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Taming the Bear: The WTO after the Accession of Russia


  • Kerr, William A.


In mid-December 2011 it was announced that the accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO had been agreed. The accession negotiations had taken 18 years. Russia is the last major economy whose international trade is not governed by WTO disciplines, and with its accession 97 percent of global trade will be subject to WTO rules. The Russian economy has not yet made the full transition to a modern market economy and, hence, it is not a good fit with the WTO, which emphasises trade liberalization and the rule of law. Three aspects of the Russian economy are particularly antipathetic to WTO disciplines: (1) the use of trade, particularly energy exports, to achieve political objectives; (2) corruption and weak legal institutions; (3) crony capitalism. The interaction of each of these with WTO commitments is explored. It is concluded that Russia has little interest in liberalizing its trade regime. Hence, the role Russia may play in the future direction of the WTO may not be supportive of the WTO’s current long-term objectives.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerr, William A., 2012. "Taming the Bear: The WTO after the Accession of Russia," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 13(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ecjilt:126671

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    Cited by:

    1. Brink, Lars & Orden, David & Datz, Giselle, 2017. "BRIC agricultural policies through a WTO Lens:," IFPRI book chapters,in: Agriculture, development, and the global trading system: 2000– 2015, chapter 5 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


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