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    TRANS-SIBERIAN PAYMENTS CAN BE LEFT OUTSIDE RUSSIA WTO ADMISSION TALKS AGENDA

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    MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) -Trans-Siberian payments (levied upon European companies for their flights above Russian territory) can be withdrawn from the agenda of talks on Russia's WTO admission, said the head of the Russian delegation at these talks, Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Maxim Medvedkov.

    "The EU's demand to cancel trans-Siberian payments has nothing to do with the WTO. Our partners are admitting this fact but want to use this lever for exerting pressure to bear upon Russia," said Medvedkov.

    The EU commission has considered a compromise decision providing for withdrawing this problem beyond the WTO confines to be resolved on a bilateral level," said the deputy minister.

    Medvedkov specified that a trans-Siberian flight fee is much bigger than usual air navigational taxes paid by Russia and other countries for flights over the territories of other states. "This fee dates back into the past when foreign planes bound, say, for Japan, used to land in Moscow for re-fueling. But later they began making non-stop flights and our national carrier Aeroflot concluded an agreement whereby it gives the right to fly along its route in exchange for collecting taxes for its commercial losses," said the deputy minister.

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