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    WTO demand to combat fakes, copyright abuse is fair - Duma Speaker

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    MOSCOW, March 31 (RIA Novosti) - The speaker of Russia's lower parliamentary chamber said Friday that the World Trade Organization had good reason to set the country's progress in the fight against copyright violations and counterfeiting as a condition for its accession to the group.

    "One has to acknowledge that some of the demands and claims made by our [WTO] negotiating partners are fair," Boris Gryzlov told a news conference. "Fakes on [Russia's] domestic market are, indeed, assuming menacing proportions."

    According to the State Duma Speaker, counterfeit products now account for an estimated 20% of Russia's gross domestic product and their proliferation adversely affects both foreign and domestic producers, as well as consumers.

    Gryzlov said the Duma had been taking consistent efforts to create an adequate regulatory framework against counterfeiting and copyright abuse, but that Russia's legislation in its present form was already good enough to cope with these problems effectively.

    "Unfortunately, law-enforcement agencies do not always make the most of the opportunities provided for them by the law," he said.

    Gryzlov's remarks came two days after President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of hampering Russia's WTO accession by making demands which the Russian side "considered settled long ago." He was referring to the Bush administration's new 10-point list of issues that needed to be resolved for the U.S. to approve the Russians' entry to the body governing global trade, with the most contentious ones relating to agriculture and financial services.

    Russia has been in talks to join the 149-member trade body for 13 years, but still needs to sign bilateral deals with the U.S., Australia and Colombia.

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