The European Union attempted to launch a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against Russia concerning the economic advantages of domestic producers. Head of the Gaidar Institute’s International Trade Department Alexander Knobel shared with The Russian Newspaper his opinion that Russia has some weighty arguments to present in the dispute with the EU.

“The prospect of winning this dispute for the European Union, let’s say, is less than one hundred percent sure. Most countries strictly regulate their public procurements. Secondly, the restrictions apply to a range of goods that is really not so wide. Besides, Russia can refer to the need to ensure national security in several of her vital sectors, or in the military-industrial complex, and in this particular case this will be quite appropriate,” the expert noted.

Alexander Knobel added that in other countries, all suppliers also seek to gain access to public procurements. “The European Union presents similar claims to the USA for equal access to this market,” he explained.

The expert noted that such disputes are by no means uncommon in the WTO: all countries seek to regulate their public procurement procedures. It should be reminded that Russia joined the WTO in August 2012.

“If Russia were not a member of the WTO, then all sorts of trade restrictions could have been applied against this country. Even those sanctions that have actually been introduced are formalized as a political decision on issues that go beyond economics,” pointed out Alexander Knobel.

He said that the effect of this country’s accession to the WTO that has been accumulated since 2012 amounts to about 6% of GDP (in 2012, the GDP was equal to RUB 68.1 trillion; in 2020, to RUB 106.9 trillion). In 2020, Russia’s contribution to the WTO budget was CHF 3.6 million (an equivalent of RUB 290.6 million at the current exchange rate).