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Russia's WTO Accession

Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization may be completed within a year, Lawrence H. Summers, an economic adviser to U.S. President Barak Obama, said on Wednesday

Russia's WTO Accession

He also told reporters in Moscow after talks with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov that Russia and the United States had acknowledged the necessity of solutions that would help Moscow join the WTO despite its sour relations with Washington's ally Georgia.

Summers said that he had met with U.S. businessmen in Moscow who were very much encouraged by Russia's nearing WTO accession, adding he was astonished at the possibilities they saw on the Russian market. He said it would help achieve Obama's goal of doubling exports.

Russia's entry negotiations with Washington were one of the most difficult with stumbling blocks including imports of U.S. chicken. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia could do without imports of chicken starting next year.

Summers said the breakthrough in the negotiations was reached after Moscow had announced its intention to join the WTO alone, not as a member of a Customs Union which also comprises Kazakhstan and Belarus.

He said although the two countries had built up a good rapport, no documents were signed yet, adding that Washington wanted to get certain promises from Moscow. He declined to elaborate.

He also said that trading practices between Russia and the United States were to be polished.

Summers said it was too early to celebrate the success of Russia's 17-year bid to join the global trading body as Moscow was still to negotiate the entry with other states, including Georgia, which said it would not support Russia's accession before Moscow allowed Georgian customs officials enter its breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

He said the situation required creative solutions so that Georgia's position did not prevent Russia's joining the WTO.

Russia is yet to finalize talks with the European Union, and its chief WTO negotiator Maxim Medvedkov said they would be completed in a few weeks. The main stumbling block in talks with the EU is Russia's timber export duties which Moscow wanted to make prohibitive. It later decided against doing so due to Finland's requests.

Source : RIA Novosti

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