In order to promote international trade and to establish favorable economic relations the International Institute of Management for Business Associations of the Russian Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the first time on 5 of March 2013 conducted an international webinar (online seminar) "Russia's benefits of membership in the WTO".
The webinar was organized with the support of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).
The event was attended by over 200 students, among whom were heads of regional chambers of commerce and industry, the heads of economic departments of government and commercial organizations, staff of high educational establishments, representatives of almost all the major cities of Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Saratov, Chelyabinsk, Penza, Pyatigorsk, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Tula, Tver, Ufa, Lipetsk, Belgorod, Kirov, Saransk, Perm. There were students from distant cities such as Vladivostok, Barnaul, Chita, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Irkutsk, Kemerovo. In addition to the Russian colleagues, the event was attended by specialists from the CCI of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
The vebinar was held by Elizabeth Hafner, director of Russia and Northern Eurasia Office U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) directly from Washington.
In her speech, she noted that one of the significant events of 2012 was thу Russia Federation's entry into the World Trade Organization. Elizabeth Hafner emphasized that the authority and capacity to the WTO is unique, because this organization is the only mass international organization that sets the rules of trade in international markets to ensure maximum transparency in trade relations, therefore, predictability and freedom of competition. Besides the WTO is taking concerted action to resolve disputes between member countries on all issues related to trade and trade barriers. The results of these efforts affect the interests of the individual producers and consumers of goods and services, as set out the rules of their exports and imports.
Elizabeth Hafner also spoke about the role of each country in the WTO, with the formal universal equality which in fact is not equal. WTO - is not the UN, as is sometimes considered, where each country has one vote, and the right of veto as it is in the Security Council. In the WTO, each country has influence in line with its economic power. The economic potential is crucial in defending its national interests. That is why the WTO accession of the candidate countries is seeking support primarily the United States and the EU.
Enumerating the benefits of Russian WTO accession, the webinar leader noted that the opening of markets will increase the cost-effectiveness of Russia as a whole, and help Russian businesses to become more competitive in the supply of high quality products, parts and materials for Europe, Japan and the U.S.
WTO can favorably influence for better diversification of the Russian economy, the introduction of international standards in accordance with the rules of the WTO, will open new international markets, expand Russian exports. In addition, as a WTO member, Russia may challenge trade barriers in foreign markets.
The country could Increas efficiency of the business. Reduce the administrative and financial burden on businesses, enabling to focus directly on the conduct of its business.
WTO membership is closely related to concepts such as transparency, predictability and accountability. Adoption of rules, based on these principles, according to Elizabeth Hafner, also can positively impact on the struggle against corruption.
The webinar was conducted with simultaneous interpretation, which was provided by "TIS International". Separate virtual room was prepared for the participants to listen the US webinar leader without translation into English.