Accession to the World Trade Organization is generating minimal short-term economic gains for Russia, and the long-term benefits are exaggerated, ING Bank said.
Russia's entry into the WTO after 19 years of negotiation was like joining a "Premier League team, where success depends on interaction with other players and adherence to internal rules more than anything else," ING Bank economists said in a report for investors e-mailed Monday.
And new customs data from September suggest that there has not been a flood of foreign-made goods crossing the border, despite lower import tariffs mandated by accession.
The average import tariff will fall from 10 percent to 7.8 percent as a result of the country's joining the WTO. One-third of these cuts are already in place, and another quarter are to be implemented within three years.
No significant month-on-month increase in imported goods, including textiles, footwear and cars — all expected to be boosted by tariff cuts — has been visible since accession on Aug. 22, according to research by the Eurasian Economic Commission, RIA-Novosti reported Monday.
Some exceptions to this trend were a month-on-month 16 percent uptick in pork imports, a 50 percent increase in vegetable oil imports and a 23 percent jump in dairy imports.
But consumers should not expect lower tariffs to lead to lower prices, ING Bank said, because inflation and profit-taking are likely to bite.
"Nearly two months after the accession, there have been no visible positive price effects so far," the bank said.
Expectations for a macroeconomic stimulus to the economy are likely to have been exaggerated, the investment bank's report states.
Estimates of gross domestic product gains of between 3 and 11 percent were unrealistic because they are premised on the "questionable assumption" of sharp reductions to the barriers to foreign direct investment.
Assuming a slower pace of services liberalization, WTO accession could add just 0.5 percent to GDP growth in the short term and 1 percent in the long term, ING said.