Russia and Israel successfully finish WTO talks

A bilateral Russian-Israeli protocol on the conditions for access of Israeli goods to the Russian market has been signed today. The document provides for imposing import duties on Israeli goods. On behalf of Russia the protocol was signed by First Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Alexey Kaulbars, and Israeli Vice Premier Ehud Olmert signed it on behalf of Israel.

According to Kaulbars, the signing of this document means that all disagreements between the two countries had been resolved. "We consider this step to be very friendly towards Russia," he pointed out. Olmert remarked for his part, "There had not been any doubts that we would reach this agreement."

Andrey Kushnirenko, the head of the Department of Tariff Regulation of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry of Russia, told reporters that Israel had become the fourth country to sign this kind of protocol with Russia, following New Zealand, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova. According to Kushnirenko, such protocols with 10 more countries, including Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Chile, Venezuela, Oman and Bolivia, are to be signed in the near future.

The official added that 52 of the 67 members of the task group for Russia's admission to the WTO had expressed their willingness to hold talks on tariffs with Russia. Such talks with 45 countries have already started, and 7 countries, including Egypt and Madagascar, have declared they would not sign such a protocol.

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