Another round of talks on Russia's entry into the WTO

Another round of negotiations with the European Union on Russia's entry in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is starting in Moscow on Monday, RIA Novosti was told in Washington by Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Maxim Medvedkov.

The negotiations will last for a week.

At these negotiations we intend to discuss the entire complex of questions concerning trade in goods and services, agriculture, and comprehensive problems, including tariff measures," noted the deputy minister.

"Jointly with the delegation of the European Union we shall take part in the Russia-EU business roundtable on Tuesday to discuss WTO matters," said Medvedkov.

The report of the working group on Russia's accession to the WTO was presented at the end of October in Geneva. In the context of this report, the Russian delegation conducted twenty-two rounds of negotiations on trade and eleven rounds on access to services with the WTO partnership countries. A number of positions were agreed on comprehensive problems concerning import tariffs, financial policy and investment and competitive regimes.

Medvedkov also pointed out that a number of WTO member-countries had changed for the better their positions on Russia's regime of quoting meat imports. But no specific agreements have been reached in the energy sphere. The EU countries continue to insist on evening out the internal and export tariffs on Russian energy resources and on the early liberalisation of the gas industry.

Other serious problems at the negotiations on Russia's entry into the WTO are Russia's intention to preserve the right to grant monopoly to Rostelecom to international and inter-urban communication for six years, and to give direct access to the Russian market for foreign banks. "So far we have failed to reach agreement," admitted Medvedkov. "So far, we were only explaining why Russia cannot meet some or other WTO demands," he said.

Still another unsettled question is the state support, which is rendered to Russian agricultural goods producers, which some WTO member-countries are favouring.

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