Scale is our key competitive advantage. The scale of our territory, especially now that we are part of an integration bloc, the scale of our market, and our scale as a global player. We are aware that politics, the economy and commerce are interrelated ... and I guess that the primary objective – and our accession to the WTO was an important move in achieving this – is not to lose this competitive advantage and to realise this potential.
We’re always discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the WTO for the producer, but it is vital to remember that the WTO is to a large extent not about producers but about consumers, and access to the market for goods and services. Joining the WTO is an additional factor that forces producers to set competitive prices.
We must understand that the WTO is not a club of friendly, smiling people; rather, it is a shark tank, and we will come to see this very soon, in three or four years, unless we build up our competitiveness.
This is the big thing about Russia becoming a member of the WTO. The WTO will provide opportunities for Russia; it will not guarantee results. It will provide opportunities, provided Russia wants to use these opportunities. And, if I had to give advice, then I would say: If you are given an opportunity, go and play on the offence.
We also have to recognise honestly that one of the reasons why perfectly good, decent Russian companies are marked down and undervalued is not a result of what those companies are doing themselves, but because of the politics that are surrounding those companies in the country as a whole.
Removing barriers, customs barriers, and, most importantly, harmonising regulatory standards and authorisation procedures, has a very substantial impact … Russia’s accession to the WTO is a step toward supporting our relative competitiveness.
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