Russia-EU talks on Russia's accession to the WTO

On October 7, the Russian delegation headed by Russian Minister of Economic Development German Gref is holding talks in Brussels with EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy on issues related to Russia's accession to the WTO.

During the meeting, the sides will discuss controversial issues regarding access of goods and services to the Russian market. On the eve of the visit to Brussels, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Maxim Medvedkov told journalists that among unresolved problems were restrictions on access to financial, transportation and consulting services, as well as a whole spectrum of goods, including airplanes, cars and furniture.

Mr. Medvedkov underlined that the Russian delegation was not willing to change its previous position toward the access of insurance and banking services.

"We are ready to open the market for direct investments, but we are not willing to do so in regard to trans-border services (the opening of branches of foreign companies in Russia)," said Mr. Medvedkov.

One of the issues on the agenda was supposed to be prices for energy carriers. The EU insisted that Russia should abandon price regulation on the domestic market.

This issue was discussed on Monday during the Moscow meeting between Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and French Premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin. At the end of the talks, Mr. Kasyanov announced that the price regulation issue was not going to be an obstacle during the Russian-EU talks in Brussels.

According to Mr. Kasyanov, Mr. Raffarin assured him of the French support of Russia's efforts to join the WTO.

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