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Putin warns Russian accession to WTO may not bring immediate benefits


11:00, November 22, 2012

MOSCOW, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Russia may not enjoy immediate benefits from its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and could even face serious challenges, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

Putin poured cold water on those who expected the membership in the world trade bloc would bring fast fruits for the nation.

"Because of the crisis trends on the global markets, the risks linked to our obligations have increased. We have consciously taken these risks," Putin told a meeting of Russia's National Security Council, citing the global economic slowdown as a reason why Russia's WTO accession would not pay off in the short term.

The Russian President also warned that there were certain sectors where special problems could emerge, in addition to areas with poorly diversified economy, which could face rising unemployment, shrinking budget revenues, growing gap in social- economic development, in comparison with more prosperous regions.

Putin, however, urged the government to sustain a positive trend on domestic job market where official unemployment rate hovers slightly over 5 percent.

He also called for efforts to be made to render Russia more attractive for foreign investors to offset the negative impact of global stagnation.

Russia officially joined the WTO on Aug. 22. After the accession, Russia will have to gradually lower its average tariff ceiling to 7.8 percent from the current 10 percent, with the agricultural tariff down from 13.2 percent to 10. 8 percent, and the tariff for industrial products slashed from 9.5 percent to 7.3 percent.

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