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    MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - European Union expansion may entail worsened conditions for the work of Russian companies, said Maxim Medvedkov, deputy minister for economic development and commerce, the head of the Russian delegation at negotiations on Russia's joining the World Trade Organisation.

    "Russia frets over the coming of May 1 when this expansion is due to happen because quite definite negative consequences can occur," Medvedkov said in an interview to the journal Europe, published Friday at the Ministry for Economic Development and Commerce Internet site.

    Since the newly-joined countries will have to assume the EU trade rules from May 1, some traditional Russian exports will see import dues increased. This applies above all to aluminium and some foodstuffs," said the deputy minister.

    "Russian exporters will also have to pay anti-dumping dues which were previously in effect on the territory of 15 EU countries but were not paid on the territory of ten countries that joined the EU on May 1," said Medvedkov.

    Besides, the countries to join the EU are to get agricultural subsidies. "This will add up to their competitive abilities, thus affecting Russian producers," specified the deputy minister.

    According to the ministry's estimates, the losses of Russian exporting companies may reach $150 million a year. Medvedkov reported that Russia has already experienced the negative impact of the visa regime introduced by the EU novices, its having undermined the number of tourist visits and the development of business contacts.

    However, Medvedkov noted certain benefits for Russia as well. "It is positive that the legislation of the newly-joined countries will be adjusted to the EU legislation, which implies that Russian companies will be enabled to work in the uniform legal environment. In some cases, this means the simplification of customs and trade routines," he added.

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