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Russia considers withdrawing from WTO, WHO

Russia considers withdrawing from WTO, WHO - Photo 1.

Russia joined the WTO in 2012 after nearly 18 years of negotiations – Photo: REUTERS

On May 17, RT and Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Speaker of the Russian Parliament Pyotr Tolstoy as saying that the Russian Foreign Ministry had sent a proposal to the Duma (lower house). “Together with the Federal Council (Senate), we will evaluate and make a proposal to withdraw from WHO, WTO,” Mr. Tolstoy said.

“Russia has withdrawn from the Council of Europe, now the next step is to withdraw from the WTO and WHO, which have ignored all obligations regarding our country,” added Mr Tolstoy, in which referring to Russia’s announcement to leave the European Council in March 2022.

Tolstoy also said that the Russian government intends to adjust international obligations and treaties that currently bring harm instead of benefits to the country.

In April 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Western “illegal” restrictive measures imposed on Russian companies as going against WTO rules, and asked the government to update Russia’s strategy at this organization before June 1.

However, withdrawing from the WTO will make Russia lose its tax protection. WTO member states can impose higher tax rates on Russian imports, which will reduce exports and lead to a reduction in VAT, excise and tariffs.

A week earlier, Russia also voiced criticism when WHO passed a resolution that could lead to the closure of the office in Moscow. According to Reuters news agency, the resolution passed on May 10 could pave the way for WHO to close its office in Russia and stop holding meetings in the country.

Most recently, on May 17, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS), amid rising tensions with the West over a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said CBSS was becoming “an instrument of anti-Russian policy”. “We consider our presence in CBSS to be ineffective and counterproductive,” the agency said in a statement.

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