Russia has covered two thirds of the path to the WTO, European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said in an interview to the French TV channel France-2, referring to the protocol on completion of talks on market access within Russia's entry in the WTO signed in Moscow on May 21st.
Europe is interested in "opening the Russian market concerning the agricultural and industrial goods and services, including environment protection," he emphasized. "Russia is a huge trade partner, and the EU after its expansion accounts for over 50% of its foreign trade," he said.
Russia's plans to join the WTO allows the EU to hope that Russian energy prices will be eased. "Russia is an economy that wastes energy," Lamy announced. According to him, the Moscow meeting gave the European party a hope that Russia will ratify the Kyoto protocol and will undertake the same obligations as the European Union concerning greenhouse gas emissions. He pointed to "Moscow's good reaction" on the issue.
Russia, in his opinion, "has made a step towards the WTO and a step towards the Kyoto".
On Friday, May 21st Russia and the EU signed the protocol on completion of talks concerning market access as part of Russia's admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The document was signed by Russian Economic Development Minister German Gref and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. The ceremony was attended by the Russian President and EU leadership.
The protocol lists the parties' agreements to reduce import tariffs, conditions of providing access to the Russian market for banking, insurance and telecommunications services.
Russia has already signed similar protocols with other WTO nations, including Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Israel.
Within a month it expects to complete tariff talks with Japan and South Korea.