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Russia not to join WTO this year

July 31, 2006 14:54 IST
Russia on Monday said it will not join the World Trade Organisation this year and is unlikely to join the global trade body next year.

"Russia will not join the World Trade Organisation this year and it might not happen in 2007 either," Russian chief WTO negotiator Maxim Medvedkov said at a business conference in Russia's oil capital Tyumen (western Siberia).

The US remains the only country out of the 58-member Working Party on Russia's accession with which Moscow has yet to sign a bilateral protocol. "We will have time to prepare for WTO accession and analyse the pluses and minuses that we will receive," Medvedkov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

He said Russia was close to the completion of the WTO talks, but 10-15 problems still remained on the agenda that had to be discussed more thoroughly.

The issue of access to Russia's financial services market has been the main stumbling block in Russia's bilateral negotiations with the US. Other issues include intellectual property rights, import duties and agricultural subsidies.

The US had been pushing for permission for its banks to open branches in Russia, but a compromise proposal in the run-up to the G8 summit earlier this month, failed to click when Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said branches of insurance companies - though not banks - would be allowed to do so.

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