Magazine article Europe-East

Eu-Russia Summit : Moscow Reaffirms Intention to Join WTO in 2011

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu-Russia Summit : Moscow Reaffirms Intention to Join WTO in 2011

Article excerpt

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has reaffirmed his country's firm commitment to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2011, dispelling worries that accession might be further delayed. "After our agreements with the United States and the European Union, Russia's WTO entry is becoming reality," Medvedev said at a joint press conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso following the EU-Russia summit, on 7 December in Brussels.

Russia has been negotiating its WTO accession for 17 years, much longer than any other country in the history of the organisation. The WTO represents more than 97% of global trade. Russia's US$1.2 trillion economy makes it the largest country still outside the WTO.

The declaration came after EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Russian Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina signed, earlier the same day, a memorandum of understanding on the terms of the EU-Russia WTO agreement, concluded at the end of November. The document settles the remaining bilateral disagreements between the EU and Russia over export duties on raw materials and railway tariffs. It boosts Moscow's chances of entering the WTO in 2011 and may also accelerate the ongoing talks on a new bilateral EU-Russia agreement.

"I am particularly rejoiced by the fact that the EU and Russia have concluded their bilateral negotiations on the WTO, and we agree that we should now focus on the multilateral negotiations so that Russia can become a member of the WTO as soon as possible," said Van Rompuy. …

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