Russia will not join the World Trade Organization on terms that will not improve its situation in international trade, RIA Novosti quoted Russian Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Maxim Medvedkov as saying Saturday at a scientific workshop dedicated to problems of gaining WTO membership. Medvedkov said as long as negotiations with the WTO do not yield agreed and acceptable terms, the date of the nation joining the organization "will be pushed off". Russia maintains that the level of tariff protection must not be lowered, the deputy minister said. Talks on Russia joining the WTO need to be finished by 2002, Medvedkov believes. He added that Russia's market of commodities and services is not expected to be opened on the date of the entry. Medvedkov announced that a cabinet meeting has been scheduled for next June to consider "further steps" on the issue of joining the WTO. The deputy minister is convinced that once in the WTO, Russia will gain great prospects. According to various expert estimates, Russia stands to gain $5bn to 15bn, financially. According to the deputy minister, Russia now needs to pass 12 federal laws for national law to almost fully comply with WTO legislation.
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