Russia and WTO to agree on support of agriculture

By April 2003, Russia hopes to reach an agreement with WTO members on state support of agriculture, Deputy Economy Minister of Russia Maxim Medvedkov reported at a press conference today. According to him, the next round of Russian-WTO talks on Russia's entry to this organization will be held in March 2003.

Medvedkov pointed out that there were two concepts of developing agriculture. The first one suggests preserving the state role in financing and supporting agriculture and food exports. This concept is supported by EU countries and the USA to a certain extent. The other one, supported by Canada, is liberal and is aimed at reducing barriers in world trade and decreasing state support.

The senior official stressed that Russia was for preserving a reasonable level of state support. In Medvedkov's opinion, Russia's reaching an agreement on such principles will create conditions for intensive development of the agriculture industry. "Russia is gradually turning from an oil exporter to a food exporter; this trend should be fixed," he said.

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