Positive changes appear in complicated Russia-WTO talks on agriculture

Another meeting on problems of agriculture with members of the Working Group for Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has revealed a certain rapprochement between the positions of the Russian side and the group of the countries taking part in the negotiation process. Russian First Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sergei Dankvert spoke about it with a RIA Novosti correspondent, summing up the results of the multilateral consultations, with the participation of representatives of 19 member-countries of the WTO Working Group, which ended in the evening of Thursday. According to him, representatives of the European Union, Norway, Hungary and Croatia occupy, on the whole, a constructive position which, to a considerable extent, takes into consideration the specific problems in the agricultural sector of the Russian economy. At the same time there are rather serious differences with a number of other countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The consultations took part in the form of the discussion of the specified information, presented by Russia, on the measures concerning "the green basket" /"permitted subsidies" to agriculture not limited by the WTO/ and on "the yellow basket" programmes /state support of agriculture which should be cut at the agreed upon time limits/.

Russia insists on the right to use the measures of tariff protection of agricultural products, not prohibited by the WTO, and on the right to support export products, for instance, by partially compensating very high transport expenditures. It is very important for Russia to come to an agreement with regard to the time limits of "the yellow basket" programme which would not contradict the country's interests, said the First Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

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