Russian President Vladimir Putin just signed a treaty that makes Russia a World Trade Organization member. Russia’s accession to the WTO is the result of 18 years of negotiations.
Russian media revealed that as part of the deal, Russia will have to lower its protective tariff rate from 10% to 7.8%.
This signals the end of Russia’s sovereignty in trade and economic matters. Foreign investors will now be able to buy up Russia’s industries, and there are already plans to buy out Russia’s telecommunications companies.
Thousands of Russian businesses are wary that the low import duties and caps on subsidies that are a condition of joining the WTO will hurt them.
Now the US congress wants to “normalize” trade with Russia:
WASHINGTON—A Senate panel approved a bill that would lift U.S. trade restrictions on Russia, but human-rights provisions in the measure complicate the prospects of winning congressional approval before Moscow joins the World Trade Organization next month.
The Senate Finance Committee unanimously passed legislation to provide permanent, normal trade relations with Russia, clearing the first major hurdle for a bill the White House considers a top trade priority. But the committee also added measures aimed at punishing Russian human-rights violators, despite White House calls for a bill without such provisions and Russian warnings of retaliation.
A number of senators have cast doubt on whether Congress can pass the trade bill before lawmakers leave town before their August recess, raising the risk that U.S. companies will be at a competitive disadvantage in Russia after it joins the WTO.
“This strong vote, I think, gives this a lot of momentum,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) said after the vote. He added there is still hope to win congressional approval before August.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk applauded the committee vote and said the Obama administration would work with Congress toward quick passage of the bill.
The bill would repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment—a 1974 measure that prevents the U.S. from granting most-favored-nation status to countries that restrict emigration. But its progress could be slowed by the inclusion of human-rights legislation named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in prison after accusing Russian government officials of fraud. The provision would freeze assets and deny visas to Russian human-rights abusers.
The US is facing sanctions from the WTO because of a law that requires food products of foreign origin to be labeled if they are sold in the US. How is the WTO serving the nations who have joined it? It only serves the interests of globalists and international corporations.