The creation of the Russian, Kazakh, and Belarusian Customs Union should not hinder Russia's entering the World Trade Organization (WTO), a Russian deputy minister for economic development said on Thursday.
"We are ready to take all the steps necessary to resolve the disagreements, but I don't think it [developing the Customs Union] should hinder Russia's joining the WTO," Andrei Slepnev said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Earlier on Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution saying that the Customs Union could become an obstacle to Russia's accession to the WTO.
Russia has been trying to enter the WTO since 1993, while the process normally takes other countries 5-7 years. In June 2009, the heads of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan said they would join the WTO as a united customs territory. However, in October the same year, the three countries announced they would resume negotiations on joining the WTO separately, but on coordinated positions.
All the European countries entered the WTO as a united customs union, and that fact was not considered an obstacle to global trade, Slepnev said.
Customs control at the Russian-Kazakh border will continue for another year, Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak Shukeyev said at the forum in St. Petersburg.
The Customs Union formally came into existence on January 1, but is unable to start working fully until disputes are resolved and the customs code comes into effect.
The Code was due to start operating on July 1, but at the end of May the three former Soviet republics failed to resolve disputes at a meeting in St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG, June 17 (RIA Novosti)