Practical Preparations For Russia's WTO Membership To Start In Early 2002

In January next year, a new stage will begin in the work over the issues of Russia's joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This opinion was expressed by the participants in another round of the talks, which ended on Wednesday, between the Russian delegation and its main foreign trade partners and members of the Working Group for Russia's entry in the WTO. The Russian delegation held negotiations with representatives of thirty-two countries for coordinating the tariffs, and of sixteen countries - the services. The experts from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture met the interested members of the Working Group to discuss agricultural issues. Earlier, the Russian side submitted its proposals concerning the concluding report of the Working Group. As has already been reported, on Monday, the fifty-two representatives of the member-countries of the Working Group discussed the material submitted to them and positively rated the work done by Russia in the past two years. They agreed with the proposal of the Group's chairman Kare Brin /Norway/ to adopt a formal decision at its official session on January 23-24, 2002 on drafting a concluding report on Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation. This decision implies the conclusion, in the main, of the stage of a preliminary multilateral coordination of the positions of Russia and its chief trade partners, with an account of the standard terms of the WTO, and the beginning of the practical work over the entry documents. The approval of the final variant of the report by members of the Working Group opens a path to Russia into the WTO. Summing up the results of the December round of the negotiations with the WTO, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Maxim Medvedkov pointed out with satisfaction the interested attitude and realism of the foreign partners and their grown understanding of the Russian problems.