Andrey Goltsblat gave the interview on air to BBC World Business Report on Russia’s WTO accession and his view on how it will influence on the foreign investors in Russia.

19.12.2011

BBC: Well, let’s get straight over to Moscow, where Andrey Goltsblat, managing partner of Goltsblat BLP, joins us. Andrey, it’s great have you with us. We are now talking about by far the biggest economy yet to join the World Trade Organisation. But for Russia, I mean, what are the benefits? What does it going to get out of being a member?

Andrey Goltsblat: Well, obviously the Russian accession to WTO is a long term benefit for the country but we need to obviously distinguish the different parties which will be impacted by the accession of Russia to WTO because obviously there is the state, the Russian Federation, there are people of the Russian Federation and there are different businesses like the Russian business and foreign business. And as a state in the short term the state might slightly suffer as the tariff reduction will obviously reduce the budget revenue, but that obviously the state does realise and will find the sources of compensating the reduction of the tariffs.

The people might be benefited because the prices presumably will go down, especially for the imported goods and products and the raw materials and the foreign businesses definitely should be benefited as the tariffs will go down and at the same time those preferences which have been adopted by Russia before the accession like the industrial assembly of the cars and the car manufacturing treatment, the special economic zones, those will be on a transition period till 2018 which is beneficial for foreigners. Yet before it…

BBC:  Andrey, sorry to interrupt, can I ask you this: you mentioned the word “business” because a lot of people in the West are watching it very closely and there is no doubt that Russia has a reputation in the West as a.. as a hard place - let’s no kid ourselves - as a hard place to do business. Because of perhaps … a weaker… a weak rule of law. Do you think this will change?

Andrey Goltsblat: Well, obviously the rule of law will change and it’s not as weak as it’s probably been scared outside of Russia. But, well, we do seem to have an issue with the rule of law, however the accession to the WTO will require Russia to play the international trade rules, not only the Russian ones and while playing the international trade rules, by definition, you will have to enhance the rule of law internally, so I do strongly believe that the rule of law situation in Russia will improve following the accession to WTO.

BBC: OK, Andrey, great stuff. We really appreciate your time. For you, Andrey Goltsblat joining us from Moscow.

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