Prime Minister Kasyanov on progress in talks on Russia's joining WTO

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov does not think that talks on Russia's joining the WTO are making no headway.

"We maintain permanent contacts with our partners at different levels, exchanging arguments and solving serious problems," Kasyanov told the Les Echos newspaper (France). According to him, "we understand each other better than several months ago and are ready for a serious breakthrough in these talks." The Russian Prime Minister believes that all difficulties in the talks can be overcome.

The deviation of Russian oil and gas prices from the world ones cannot be acknowledged a subsidy from the viewpoint of WTO standards, because it is not specific and is applied to all the economic subjects in the Russian Federation, such as national enterprises and foreign investors, Mikhail Kasyanov said. "The fact that domestic oil and gas prices are lower than the world prices is normal practice and a natural advantage of many oil and gas exporters, including the WTO members," he noted.

The agreement on civil aircraft "is not compulsory for WTO members and formally cannot hamper the normal process of the talks," the Russian Prime Minister stressed.

In agriculture sphere Russia comes out "for the level of protection of national producers, which is lower than that of the WTO members, including many European countries," Mikhail Kasyanov said.

"I believe that these and other difficulties are surmountable, but, according to one American president, it takes two to tango," the premier noted.

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