Russia’s Accession to the WTO Will be Exactly 10 Years After China’s — Good for Global Trade Relations?

The Russian Federation’s expected formal accession to the WTO this December will be  exactly ten years after China’s formal accession in December 2001. Will this be good for global trade relations?
The history of China’s participation in the WTO’s dispute resolution system over the last ten years discloses that China was an active participant and implemented most of the recommendations against it. As trade increased between the U.S. and China more cases were filed. This is to be expected.
The main point is that the WTO provides a procedural mechanism to resolve trade disputes before they poison the larger bilateral relationship.
The same can be said about the potential for Russia’s accession to the WTO. As trade increases between it, the EU and the U.S. more trade disputes will percolate up. But it is the dispute resolution mechanism that can provide a firewall around these disputes and prevent them from escalating into major foreign policy clashes.
The United States now needs to exempt the Russian Federation from the outdated (1074) Jackson-Vanik amendment. It’s up to Congress to do this and it’s up to the President to ensure this outcome.
Yes, Russia’s accession to the WTO is good for future global trade relations. It subjects Russia’s chaotic capitalism to the strictures and rules of international trade law.

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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