European spirits trade body, CEPS, has welcomed the likely accession of Russia to the World Trade Organisation.

Russia and Georgia resolved a trade dispute over the weekend, removing what was seen as the last key obstacle preventing Russia’s membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia could enter the WTO club at the body's ministerial meeting in Geneva on 15 December.

This would likely lead to Russia reducing a whole range of import tariffs, including on Scotch whisky. It would also agreed to adopt internationally-agreed rules on licensing, guarantees, technical regulations and health standards.

CEPS spokesperson Marie Audren told just-drinks today (8 November): “The accession of Russia…represents a significant opportunity for European spirits exporters. Russia is one of the largest spirits export markets,” she said, valuing European spirits exports to the country at around EUR400m (US$551.5m). 

The Scotch Whisky Association is also happy, although spokesperson Rosemary Gallagher warned Russian membership in December is not certain - Ukraine has voiced fresh concerns. Russia is currently the seventh most valuable export market for Scotch: worth GBP130m (US$209m) in 2010.