Russian President Vladimir Putin said on May 10 in his state of the nation address that Russia holds WTO membership talks only based on its economic interests and condemned attempts by some WTO member states to use these talks as a mean to achieve concessions by Russia over other issues, which are not related to WTO membership.
“It is clear that our economy is more open than the economy of many members of this respectful organization [WTO] and talks over Russia’s WTO membership should not become a tool in [negotiations] over those issues which have nothing in common with this organization,” Putin said.
In March, Tbilisi and Moscow failed to find a common position on Russia’s accession into the WTO. As a member of the WTO, Georgia refuses to give its go-ahead to Russia to join the organization unless Moscow meets a number of Tbilisi’s requirements, including Georgia’s demand to regain control of customs checkpoints with Russia which are currently situated in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia says this demand should not be discussed in frames of WTO membership talks.