Russia To Become Full-fledged WTO Member By Mid-2003

Russia will become a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the beginning of the fifth ministerial conference of WTO members to be held in Mexico in mid-2003. This is the opinion of Michael Moore, WTO Secretary General, which he expressed in non-official address to governments of the WTO member-countries. At the same time, he does not rule out a possibility of completing Russia's joining the World Trade Organisation "in prompter terms." The Russian leadership "took significant steps in this issue and made great efforts to make Russia a WTO member." "That's why we, maybe, see Russia among members of the World Trade Organisation earlier than it could be expected," reads Michael Moore's address published Thursday at the official WTO site in the Internet. The Secretary General noted that currently 28 countries, Russia included, are candidates for WTO membership. Lithuania, Moldova and China became WTO members in 2001. Since January 1, 2002 Taiwan island took the obligations of a WTO member as a separate customs territory. Michael Moore also supposes that such countries as Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Cambodia may complete the negotiating process this year.

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