Japanese business people expect that Russia's WTO entry will give them an opportunity to boost their car exports and investment in that country.
Automobiles account for about 60 percent of Japan's overall exports to Russia. But exports of used Japanese vehicles to that country decreased sharply after Russia raised tariffs on imported vehicles in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.
However, Russia has promised to lower import duties on used cars from the present 35 to 20 percent by 2019 after joining the WTO. It has also vowed to cut tariffs on brand-new passenger vehicles from 30 to 25 percent, with a further reduction to 15 percent in the next seven years, Japanese media reported.
Russia is also expected to ease restrictions on foreign companies' stakes in Russian firms.
But an expert with the Japan External Trade Organization warns that Russia could break its promise if state revenues fall or if WTO membership has a negative impact on domestic industries. Other WTO members need to make sure that Russia keeps its pledge to lower import tariffs, he added.
Meanwhile, Japan and the United States have filed a complaint with the WTO over Argentina's import restrictions. They argue that the South American nation's measures are designed to protect domestic industries and violate WTO rules.
Argentina requires companies to obtain prior government approval for importing about 600 industrial products, including automobiles and computers. The firms are also asked to export goods to match the value of their imports.
The three countries will hold talks on the matter and if they fail to reach an agreement within 60 days, Japan and the U.S. will ask the WTO to set up a panel to handle the dispute. Japan is also concerned about growing protectionism by Brazil and some other South American countries, the report said.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org