Russian Economic Development Ministry: Unemployment Will Fall after WTO Entry

Unemployment in Russia will fall slightly after the country's entry in to the WTO, believes Russian First Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Mikhail Dmitriev. The deputy minister was speaking at a press conference devoted to predictions of the social and economic consequences of Russia joining the WTO. However, he also said that unemployment would rise in some sectors of industry. The possible fall in employment in vulnerable sectors would only run into the tens of thousands, said Dmitriev, stressing that 'the Russian economy can find employment for these people.'

Oleg Yeremeev, the general director of the Coordinating Council of the Association of Russian Employers, said that week sectors such as the food, textiles and footwear industries would be worst affected during the transition period.

Mikhail Shmakov, the chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, said that the main task as the moment was to evaluate the potential positive and negative consequences of Russia's entry into the WTO, and also to act in advance to minimise any negative consequences of this process.

The Russian government, trade unions, and International Labour Organisation based their predictions of the consequences of WTO entry for Russia on five separate research projects. These were conducted by the British Ministry of Trade and Industry, the World Bank, the Centre for Economic and Financial Development of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN), the International Labour Organisation, and RAN's Higher School of Economics. The aim of these research projects was to determine the effect changes in the external economic situation would have on individual sectors of Russian industry.

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