MOSCOW – There is no alternative to international trade partnership in institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.
The Russian official is one of the participants in the 35th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which ended this weekend.
“I don’t think there seem to be alternatives to multilateral cooperation, trade systems and the WTO,” he told reporters.
He noted that the WTO had its shortcomings and that the United States was shaking the foundations of the organization by trying to change its rules, but nevertheless it was necessary to restore understanding of its importance.
“What we say in modern life is that trade flows succumb to common standards. Trade flows and the international trading system must also be regulated on the basis of common rules,” Medvedev continued.
“I repeat that the system is imperfect, but there is probably no alternative to such complex systematic regulation on a multilateral basis; otherwise we will be launched back to the 19th century,” the Russian prime minister added.
Russia, according to Medvedev, would do everything to make the other sides realize this reality.
“I am sure that in the end we will come to recognize the value of these international organizations, and they will restore their regulatory meaning,” he said, adding that “in any case, the Russian Federation will facilitate this [restoration process] in every way possible.”
WTO member states are currently divided into two fields, with a group of states which includes Russia, advocating the development of the organization and another calling for the development of a new format for the organization.
The US recently asked Brazil to set aside its special WTO status in exchange for Washington’s support for Brasilia to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) group.