BRICS should consolidate efforts to defend themselves within WTO – Russian Chamber of Commerce head

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Oct 28 (Interfax) – Sergei Katyrin, the head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has suggested to President Vladimir Putin that the BRICS countries should consolidate their efforts in defending their positions in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“We consider the possibility of working together with BRICS. Separately, we probably do not exceed the leading countries or the European Union (in terms of the number of votes). But aggregately, if we act in coordination with the BRICS countries to protect our interests and promote and adopt decisions within the WTO, we have quite a considerable number of votes, and this would be somewhat different influence – except, of course, that we can’t exceed the European Union,” Katyrin said at a working meeting with Putin on Friday.

In reporting to the president about the work of companies belonging to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry structure in the WTO, Katyrin said that, despite all concerns, the rate at which the import is growing is falling down. However, there are some questions regarding certain sectors, he said.

In particular, Katyrin urged the president and the government to pay attention to problems that the light industry, particularly the footwear sector, is experiencing. “A lot of footwear is now coming under the guise of rubber footwear, because its price is lower and therefore the duty paid is lower, too,” he said.

“The EU is currently recalculating (the prices) in their own way on energy resources. They recalculate the prices that we declare and that our producers use – this especially concerns metals, pipes, and fertilizers – into those at which they buy from us. Naturally, this is a different price and different duties. And therefore we become not very competitive with these products. Therefore, we believe that the government could also organize some procedures within the WTO framework,” Katyrin said.

As for small and medium businesses’ access to state contracts, Katyrin asked the president to support the idea of obliging state-run companies to purchase 15% of products they need from these businesses, which make up 70% of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry system.