2004 is optimal for Russia's joining WTO

Next year is optimal for Russia's joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Maxim Medvedkov, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade on Thursday in Nizhny Novgorod (regional center in the Volga Federal District). He is also the head of the Russian delegation at the talks on Russia's entry into the WTO.

"At the Russia-European Union summit in Rome the European partners said that they considered it necessary and possible to complete the entry of Russia into the WTO before the end of next year," pointed out Medvedkov. "Therefore we look optimistically into the future," he added.

Medvedkov noted that taking this into consideration, the negotiations must end next spring. "We have one month and a half or two months to synchronize our watches with regard to sensitive issues," said the deputy minister.

According to him, five or six vexed questions still remain - they concern energy, agriculture and some positions of commodities' access to the Russian market.

The deputy minister also underscored that "a breakthrough has already taken place" in many of these issues. For example, as to the meat import quotas, Russia has been supported by the main deliverers - the USA and the European Union.

Maxim Medvedkov once more emphasized that Russia would join the WTO only on conditions acceptable to the country.

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