Russia ready to increase foreign bank quota by 25%

Russian negotiators are ready to accept an increase of 25% in the number of foreign banks operating in Russia during the next round of World Trade Organization talks later this month. Central Bank Deputy Director Vladimir Khrebtov said 'now we are offering to double the quota.' Currently, the quota of foreign banks operating in Russia is set at 12%.

Khrebtov says Russia would continue to insist on the quota, but might make some concessions in its size. 'It seems to me that we should find agreement,' he said. At the same time, he said the number of foreign banks operating in Russia would not grow to 25% in the short term because foreign capital doesn't yet believe the business environment is stable and predictable in Russia.' The question of the prohibition on opening branches of foreign banks in Russia is also scheduled to be discussed during the next WTO round. Khrebtov says Russia's position won't change on this question.

In addition, the question of the WTO's opposition to a new Russian law on currency regulation and control is also up for discussion. Khrebtov said the law provides requirements for reserving capital operations, which foreign partners don't agree with.

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