Russia will not start complying with its WTO obligations until it has been admitted to the World Trade Organization, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
Russia has been in membership talks with the 153-nation WTO for 17 years and is the only major economy still outside the organization.
Responding to a complaint from Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach that Russia’s “hands are tied by WTO obligations” on customs duties, Putin said the obligations will only be enforced “when we join” the WTO.
Russia is being forced to “sustain losses” and “gets nothing out of a membership that isn’t,” Putin said.
“Why in hell would they admit us if we do everything anyway?” he asked rhetorically.
Russia is doing for free that which costs money, Putin said.
“Here is a direct order – don’t do that,” he said.
“I am asking you – and also tell this to our partners: We will not fulfill anything until we become full fledged members,” Putin said.
ST. PETERSBURG, April 8 (RIA Novosti)