The EU and Russia agreed that Russia’s joining the World Trade Organization should be completed before the end of this year.
This was stated by EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton following a meeting with Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.
Nabiullina also commented with enthusiasm on the prospects of joining the WTO.
“Indeed, there is a feeling that we are coming to an agreement with the EU. We hope that we will complete major negotiations by the end of the year. We have built a schedule that must be completed by that date” – brings the words of the Minister agency RIA Novosti. She stipulated that an unresolved issue remains in the negotiations with the EU; that is the issue of export duty on Russian forests, which is not beneficial for such European countries as Finland.
Deputy of Nabiullina Maxim Medvedkov, who has headed the Russian delegation in negotiations on the WTO for a long time, pointed out that several months will pass between the completion of negotiations and the actual entry of Russia into the WTO. “We have actually agreed with the EU on the understanding that negotiations would be completed before the end of the year. But between the completion of negotiations and acceptance at least six months will pass” – said Deputy Minister.
Catherine Ashton and the U.S. representative for trade negotiations Ron Kirk are the highest ranked foreign guests of the Forum, where many Russian leaders will have speeches, including President Dmitry Medvedev.
Russia has been negotiating with the WTO member countries more than 10 years. The organization includes 153 countries; all of them must give their consent to the entry of Russia in this organization.
Russia remains the world’s largest economy outside the WTO.
Previously the obstacles for Moscow to become a member of WTO were its strained relations with neighboring countries, such as the introduction of the ban on the importation of wines from Georgia in 2006.