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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fast WTO Entry Draws Duma Fire

A new wave of opposition to quick entry into the World Trade Organization swept through the State Duma on Monday, with several deputies accusing the government of basing negotiations on the interests of a few lobbies.

Duma deputies said WTO membership would serve Russia's long-term interests; however, some warned that fast-track accession could leave Russia an exporter of raw materials and natural resources and hurt domestic producers of finished goods.

Deputy Konstantin Remchukov of the Union of Right Forces faction, chairman of the SibAl auto holding's advisory board, called for further discussion before entering the WTO.

"There has been no clear and public discussion of the country's economic development strategy," Interfax reported Remchukov as saying. "The negotiation process is based on the lobbying influence of various structures and forces and not on a governmental program."

Independent Deputy Nikolai Ryzhkov, head of the Russian Union of Goods Manufacturers, urged public debate and said a presidential advisory group should be formed to discuss WTO entry.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry is currently drawing up a report detailing the pros and cons of WTO membership. The ministry has consulted with entrepreneurs and representatives of various industries, said ministry spokesman Konstantin Bogdanov.

"Anyone who wants to talk to us has the chance. Of course, every sector tries to represent its interests," he said.

Bodganov said that customs duties will not be very different if Russia is admitted to the WTO. "In some cases they'll be lower and in some, particularly sensitive cases, higher," he said.