WTO Working Group to Discuss Terms of Russia's Accession to the WTO

Yet another round of talks concerning Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization opens in Geneva on Monday.

The talks mark the stage of elaboration of the final report of the WTO Working Group, said a diplomatic source in Geneva.

According to the source, the current round of talks, which begins on January 27 and ends on February 2, will be a "non-standard" one. The first four days will be taken up by a non-formal session of the WTO Working Group, during which the group will discuss the latest version of the report, including the terms of Russia's accession to the WTO. The discussion will focus on Russia's answers to the questions that arose during the previous round of talks.

The sides agreed on this particular working regime in December 2002, when they decided to hold three sessions of the Working Group in the first quarter of 2003 - in January, early March, and early April.

The program of the current round of talks envisages meetings between separate delegations and groups of delegations with the purpose of working out the text of the final report, including Russia's obligations. The text will then be presented to the WTO Working Group, which unites 65 countries.

Simultaneously, the Russian side will continue bilateral talks about the tariffs /with 13-15 countries/ and services /with 10-12 countries/, with the USA, the European Union, Canada, Japan, etc.

At a formal session of the Working Group on Thursday, the sides will sum up the results of the talks. Bilateral talks will continue until February 2.

The Russian delegation at the talks is headed by deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Maksim Medvedkov and unites responsible representatives and experts from departments concerned.

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