The Government consider that Russian WTO accession will act as a catalyst for domestic reform in Russia. These reforms are vital, not least for providing a secure environment in which British companies can do business in Russia. The Government fully support Russia’s accession to the WTO but under the right terms and conditions that ensure that Russia will fully meet her commitments as a WTO member.
The European Commission has competence for negotiating the terms and conditions for Russia’s accession to the WTO. The EU agreed to the terms of Russia’s market access commitments in May 2004. The Government have identified key areas where the UK has an interest in doing business with Russia and has made appropriate representations to the European Commission to ensure that the UK’s concerns are taken into account during accession negotiations.
I am unaware of any requests within the WTO that the East African Community member states commit themselves to a single trading Customs Union by 2008. Clearly this would be a decision for the countries involved.
The Government would support EAC members if they decided that such a move would benefit them.
I am replying as the Minister with responsibility for WTO accession issues.
The Government are fully supportive of Vietnam’s accession to the WTO and welcomes the fact that Vietnam is to be a foil member of the WTO from 11 January 2007.
Vietnam’s accession to the WTO has clear political and economic benefits for the UK. The “last Asian tiger”, Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and a market of over 80 million people. The UK is already a major economic partner. We are among the largest EU investors, especially in financial services and infrastructure projects. WTO membership will secure market access for UK trade and investment, and help create a stable, more transparent and rule-of-law based business environment for further growth.
As a WTO member, Vietnam will gain from the same market access opportunities in the EU as other WTO members.