After 18 years of negotiations Russia became the 156th member of WTO on August 22nd 2012. For foreign companies and investors this means new business opportunities as possible intellectual property barriers in the Russian market will be replaced by uniform WTO practices. It has been estimated that for example in Finland this may mean up to 5,000-6,000 new jobs as result of increased exports to Russia.
All this will also work the other way round. Russian companies are becoming increasingly interested in exporting their products to the West European and North American markets, and the membership will certainly pave their way. The Russian Federation has launched a federal program for the development of pharmaceutical and medical device industry with a budget of $ 6 billion, up to 80 % of which is reserved for R&D and the remaining 20 % for infrastructure development. This program aims at increasing the share of domestic products in the Russian healthcare markets with 50 % by 2020. One aspect of the program certainly is to support exports, the program coincides with the possible U.S. plans to establish an FDA office in Russia. The FDA already has offices in other BRIC countries, three in China, two in India and six in Latin America. The office in Russia would act as a source for regulatory information in the U.S.
Finland is in a great position to participate in these developments. We have a long relationship and experience in working with Russian companies and organisations. We can offer our market knowledge and contact networks and act as a steppingstone for Russian companies who seek entry and business partners in Europe, the U.S. and beyond. At Innomedica we are happy to support in this development in life sciences.