Georgian experts happier about Russia's agreement on WTO

Georgian experts happier about Russia's agreement on WTO

Georgia, Tbilisi, Nov. 4 / Trend N. Kirtskhalia /

Georgia says it received the best result after its experts assessed the WTO agreements between their country and Russia reached using Swiss mediation, expert Soso Tsintsadze told Trend.

"The agreement reached almost meets Georgia's public interest," he said. "These long negotiations ended dramatically for Russia. If this happened before the 2008 war when Russia at least formally recognised Georgia's territorial integrity, Moscow would be able to save its authority. Today, there are other real issues."

The expert thinks that Russia's decision will annoy the de facto leadership of Abkhazia and South Ossetia most of all.

"Sukhumi and Tskhinvali sharply reacted to a proposal developed under Switzerland's mediation," he said. "They stated that no international observers will be allowed to enter the borders, but the WTO director general Pascal Lamy made a statement that Russia is in fact already a member of the organisation. The leaders of other European countries stated the same. Russia indirectly recognised Georgia's territorial integrity."

Economic expert Emzar Jgerenaia thinks that Russia's position will be enhanced after joining the World Trade Organization (WTO).

He told Trend that Georgia was interested in a principal issue, border control and the Russian side had to make concessions.

"Moscow and Tbilisi reached agreement on Russia's joining the WTO," he said. "According to the agreement, Georgia has the unshakable claim to territorial integrity which Russia partially recognises."

Expert Mikheil Tavkhelidze estimates the consent for the proposal made under Switzerland's mediation as being Russia's concession. He is confident that the signing of an agreement will be unpleasant for Russia having been forced to make concessions to join the WTO.

"I am sure they will sign the agreement in a pretty bad mood because it will cause resentment in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia and in general throughout the North Caucasus," he told Trend. "But Moscow has no option."

Expert Paata Zakareishvili thinks that the Georgian side gained nothing from the WTO agreement and maintains that Russia and the rest of the world are in an advantageous position.

"The Georgian authorities make propaganda that we allegedly won something, but in reality nothing has changed and everything will remain as before," he said. This propaganda will withstand a maximum of two to three months, not more.

"Unfortunately, we lost the Georgian market. It would be better if we thought about the Russian market a little more and took more care about the return of Georgian wine. In this case, there was such an opportunity. The Georgian authorities aimed to conduct a propaganda campaign and deceive voters. They achieved this. Georgia's main objective was for the Georgian guards to stand on their borders and this has not been fulfilled."

It should be noted that it became known on Wednesday night that the Russian side considers the Swiss compromise on Russia joining the WTO as acceptable. It provides for international observers monitoring the goods crossing the Georgian borders.

According to the Russian media, Moscow and Tbilisi reached a consensus on a draft bilateral agreement on the monitoring of goods in the Georgian-Russian border within the negotiations on Russia's joining the WTO.

In particular, the agreement provides for attracting independent companies to conduct an audit of trade data. Russia and Georgia will send this information to the WTO integrated database. Independent companies will also provide assistance to the customs services of both countries.

Georgia remained the last country to prevent Russia joining the World Trade Organisation.

The final meeting of the working group for Russia's entry is scheduled for November 10-11.

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