Background

Despite a few positive steps, Russia is continuing to promulgate protectionist economic policies and disregard the general principles of the World Trade Organization, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual report on Russia’s compliance with its WTO accession commitments. The report pledges that the U.S. will investigate and use all appropriate means to resolve any actions inconsistent with Russia’s WTO commitments to keep that market open to U.S. exports.

The report identifies a number of non-tariff barriers to importing into Russia, including the following.

- an import licensing regime that is burdensome and opaque

- a less-than-transparent customs legal regime exacerbated by Russia’s failure to meet its notification commitments in the WTO Customs Valuation Committee and under the Trade Facilitation Agreement

- a ban on imports of nearly all agricultural goods from the U.S. and other WTO members

- sanitary and phytosanitary requirements that are not consistent with international standards or based on scientific justification

- localization and domestic content policies expanded beyond government procurement to state-owned enterprises and often by implication the private sector

- a lack of reliable and effective implementation of strengthened intellectual property rights rules

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