On Dec. 16, addressing the participants of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics congratulated the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Samoa and Vanuatu on their accession to the WTO. The minister also urged to reflect on the protracted stalemate in the negotiation on WTO multilateral trade liberalization and called on the member states to seek a new approach that would enable to conclude the talks. In his address Minister Rinkevics accentuated the need to avoid trade protectionism and noted the WTO’s key significance in the supervision of trade policies. The minister referred to the example of Latvia, which also in the time of crisis pursued a policy open to trade.
Russia’s membership of the WTO will also bring a number of benefits to Latvia, given that Russia is Latvia’s second largest trade partner. Russia’s obligations under the WTO agreements will take effect after the accession documents have been ratified, which is expected at the end of July 2012. When the obligations are in force, Latvia’s businesses will benefit from the lifting of export tariff barriers, reduced tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Obligations undertaken by countries acceding to the WTO must be regarded as the most comprehensive and efficiently applicable regulatory framework in trade relations.