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    RUSSIAN MINISTER: RUSSIA 15 YEARS AHEAD OF EU BY AGRICULTURE LIBERALIZATION

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    MOSCOW, February 11, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent Marina Gradova/ - Russia is 15 years ahead of the European Union by liberalization of agriculture, Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev has announced.

    According to him, the level of state support to agriculture per hectar in the EU is 40 times higher than in Russia, while support to the agricultural market is 4 times higher. "To say nothing about such mechanisms as quotas," Gordeyev told journalists on Wednesday.

    This proves that Russia is a market economy even with regard to agriculture, he believes. Opposite accusations simply testify to different standards for the WTO member states and countries that have not joined it yet. "Bureaucracy is beginning to dominate political decisions," the Russian minister emphasized.

    During the talks on admission to the World Trade Organization the Russian party has managed to preserve the opportunity to regulate and support the national agriculture, he pointed out.

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