Russia sees no prospects for WTO accession in next 12 months

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Russia wants to join the WTO, but doubts it will be accepted into the global trade body within the next 12 months, the country's first deputy prime minister said on Monday.
MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia wants to join the WTO, but doubts it will be accepted into the global trade body within the next 12 months, the country's first deputy prime minister said on Monday.

"The government says WTO accession is in line with Russia's strategic interests, and we will do everything necessary for talks to conclude with Russia joining. However, for the time being, we must note that we see no prospects for WTO accession within several months or a year," Igor Shuvalov told journalists.

He said that Russia would continue the accession process, but at the same time would terminate some of the trade agreements it had previously reached with the WTO as being too onerous.

"Russia intends to notify its WTO partners about its withdrawal from accords that are in conflict with its interests," he said.

The latest round of WTO talks collapsed in late July, but Russia's top negotiator said the parties could still return to the negotiating table later this year.

Talks in Geneva between trade ministers from the largest WTO member countries broke up on July 29 after nine days of meetings to discuss agricultural subsidies and customs duties on industrial and agricultural products, and also try to fix a date for a conference aimed at achieving a breakthrough in the Doha round of talks on liberalizing global trade.

Maxim Medvedkov said that the parties had reached a common understanding on 18 of the 20 issues under discussion, including on the need to cut agricultural subsidies.

At the same time, developed and developing nations failed to agree on protection of agricultural imports and reduction of industrial import tariffs.

The Doha Round began in Qatar's capital in 2001, but has stalled due to disagreements over farming subsidies in the U.S., the EU and Japan, and trade tariffs in emerging economies.

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