Russia is ready to enter the World Trade Organisation on standard conditions

Russia is ready to enter the World Trade Organisation /WTO/ and to be "its full-fledged member on standard conditions like all other member-countries of this organisation. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov spoke about it at the meeting with representatives of the Belgian business quarters in Brussels. He said that Russia "does not need special privileges but will not reconcile itself to any restriction" in comparison with other WTO member-countries. At the same time, Mikhail Kasyanov admitted that the entry of Russia into the World Trade Organisation is a very important stage in the development of the Russian economy. According to him, last year the level of progress in the negotiation process was much higher, as far as its results are concerned, than in all the eight past years. "Last year we covered ninety percent of the entire way," said Mikhail Kasyanov. Speaking about the relations between Russia and the European Union, the Russian Prime Minister pointed out that this bilateral cooperation "is one of the priorities in the Russian policy." In this connection he underscored the importance of the coming summit of the European Union in Moscow in May. It will be important first of all for intensifying cooperation in creating a single economic space and determining the aims of the energy cooperation. Touching upon the prospects of the European Union's expansion, Mikhail Kasyanov said that Russia hailed in every way this process. At the same time, however, "it hopes to be heard in connection with its own problems which have appeared because of the expansion of the Union." "We hope," said the Prime Minister, "that the problems concerning, in particular, the Kaliningrad region (the westernmost Russian region in the Baltic area) will be resolved on mutually advantageous conditions."

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