The Amalgamation Process of the - Moving towards a ‘Partnership of Choice’ after the Russian WTO Membership
Sammanfattning: August 22nd, 2012 will, no doubt, remain a historical milestone in the international arena: Russia became the World Trade Organization’s 156th member, after 18 years of negotiations. Along this long journey, the European Union, Russia’s main trading partner, was considered ‘the’ driving force, pushing forward Russia’s accession process, for stronger economic bonds and safer investment environment. Nevertheless, whilst Russia wanted greater integration in the world economy, it did not want it at any price. Thus, implementing the assumed WTO commitments has often been hindered by political interference. This paper explores the EU-Russian strategic partnership through three different angles - international trade, business and political economy – and is supported by a quantitative analysis of the most traded commodities and twelve interviews held in Moscow, Brussels, Geneva and Stockholm with key persons representing the EU, Russian and WTO sides. While the future of Russia´s economic diversification and trade asymmetry mitigation with the EU remains uncertain and dependent on the country´s internal reform, greater transparency and predictability under the WTO umbrella should be considered encouraging for the European businesses. The conclusion also elaborates on the most promising sectors these businesses could head to in the wake of Russia’s WTO accession.
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