CENTRAL BANK SEES BAN ON FOREIGN BANKS OPENING AS NO OBSTACLE TO RUSSIA'S WTO ENTRY

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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, September 7 (RIA Novosti)-The ban on setting up offices of foreign banks in Russia shall not be in the way of Russia's joining the World Trade Organisation. This opinion was uttered at a press-conference Tuesday by Gennady Melikyan, deputy chairman of the Bank of Russia, as the fifth all-Russia banking forum was over.

"It is our firm stand at the talks with the WHO. As fart as I see, we shall be finally admitted to the WHO with our position on the status of foreign banks in Russia," said Melikyan.

He reported that foreign banks are allowed today to set up in Russia their branches operating according to Russian legislation and having no advantages over other lending institutions. But the opening of foreign banks' offices is banned.

This position is explained by the fact that the Russian banks are legging behind foreign ones as to the level of capitlisation and technology. Besides, foreign banks have got cheaper resources, another advantage of theirs.

Melikyan did not rule out that foreign banks would be able to open their offices in Russia in the future. "But as long as our banks have not consolidated their positions, we shall see to it hat no foreign bank offices will open here," said Melikyan.

He admitted the benefits of competition from foreign banks which, in his opinion, should not threaten the existence of the national banking system. "Competition is a good prospect but we should enable our banks to improve their positions."

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