Russia - WTO: difficult dialogue does not mean failure

Within several months Russia plans to sign some dozen bilateral agreements on the completion of the negotiations within the framework of Russia's entry into the WTO. Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref told reporters about this on Friday.

At the present time, these agreements are undergoing approbation in the government commission for protective measures in foreign trade and for customs and tariff regulation, he said.

This week, Russia and New Zealand signed a precedent setting agreement on customs regulation. At the Russia-EU summit in Rome the heads of the European Union member-states came out in favour of accelerating the process of Russia's accession to the WTO and completing it till the end of 2004.

At the same time, unsettled problems still remain at the Russia-EU negotiations, in particular in the sphere of energy. The EU insists on evening out the internal and export gas and oil prices and on fixing export customs.

At the beginning of December EU experts will arrive in Moscow to discuss disputable questions. "Though the EU has softened its position, yet it fails to suit us either," said Gref.

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