RUSSIA NOT TO INCREASE DOMESTIC GAS PRICES WHEN ENTERING WTO

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MOSCOW, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia does not agree with the demands of some countries to equalize external and internal gas prices when entering the World Trade Organization, said Maxim Medvedkov, a representative of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry.

"The partners cannot demand from us more than they do themselves. Export prices are higher than domestic prices. This is a key principle of world trade," he said.

According to Medvedkov, gas price formation demands are beyond the WTO framework.

"We can hardly find a compromise here. We hope our partners will understand that it is up to Russia to make a decision on price formation and that we shall not assume any additional obligations," he added.

Speaking about demands to monopolies, Medvedkov specified that Russia had only two sales monopolies, according to WTO standards. These are the electric energy monopoly of RAO Unified Energy Systems of Russia and jewelry sales monopoly of the Almazyuvelirexport. "These monopolies are historic," Medvedkov said.

Russia has no legislative restrictions on oil and gas sales. Gazprom and Transneft have oil and gas pipeline transportation monopolies. However, independent producers can make relevant agreements with Gazprom and Transneft or use other delivery means, Medvedkov stressed. The WTO prohibits restrictions of sales rights, he specified.

We have been taught for ten years (negotiations began ten years ago) that the World Trade Organization is a system of rules, above all, he said.

Russia will not assume obligations on natural monopolies because reforms in these sectors have not been completed yet, Maxim Medvedkov said.

"A reform of natural monopolies takes much time and effort. Any forecasts in this sphere are dangerous," he emphasized.

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