Author`s name Pravda.Ru

WTO to resume world trade liberalization

On Tuesday the WTO General Council will open its session in Geneva. Russia will be represented by Yuri Afanasiyev, head of the trade policy department of the Russia's permanent mission to the UN, and Andrei Kondakov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's economic cooperation department.

The main event of the meeting is the expected attempt to resume "the Doha round" of talks aimed at liberalizing the WTO, Afanasiyev told RIA Novosti.

He recalled that the process of liberalization had began in Doha in 2001, but came to a deadlock at the conference of WTO trade ministers in Cancun, Mexico, in autumn 2003.

Ten months later the WTO General Council received a report on the outlook for developing the Doha round. There will be heated debates of the document, Afanasiyev believes, and the report can be taken as a basis, changed drastically or fully rejected.

The report is the last issue on the meeting's agenda and will most probably be discussed on Wednesday, he said.

Among other problems on the agenda he named admission of Iran and Libya to the WTO. They have submitted applications for accession and the General Council has either to give a principal consent for corresponding talks or to turn the applications down.

According to Afanasiyev, it will not be the first time to review Iran's application, and for the last two years the country has been denied the right to start the WTO procedures. "The decision requires a consensus, but the USA has vetoed it for five or six times, thinking Iran is not ready," the Russian representative explained. Libya's application will be considered for the first time.

Ahead of the meeting, "unprecedented security measures" are being taken in Geneva, Afanasiyev pointed out. "Anti-globalists' protests are expected and enormous security measures are being taken. For the first time special passes have been introduced".

Only two representatives of Russia will be allowed to the meeting, he said. Russia, not a WTO member, takes part in the General Council's meeting, speaks on some issues but does not play an active part in decision-making, he said.