EU, Russia agree on WTO membership by end of the year

04 June 2009 13:10  [Source: ICIS news]

BRUSSELS (ICIS news)--The EU and Russia have agreed that the country should join the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the end of the year, the European Commission said on Thursday.

EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton and the Russian minister for economic development, Elvira Nabiullina, agreed during a meeting in St. Petersburg that Russia's accession to the WTO should take place as soon as possible, and that discussions would now continue between chief negotiators.

“We have a common understanding on the gaps that need to be bridged now,” said Ashton. “We have agreed that WTO accession should be completed before the end of this year.”

Russia began the accession process to the WTO in 1993, but disagreements over various issues have slowed down progress.

According to the Commission, the main issues on which agreement still has to be reached are “Russian export duties, including on timber, the level of railway fees for goods in transit through Russia and the restrictions on imports of meat, milk and plant products”.

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By: Philippa Jones
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