Speaking to reporters in Hanoi, where he had attended this weekend's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, German Gref said, "We will open our insurance market to branches of foreign companies, but not until a nine-year transition period is over."
"Subsidiaries 100% [foreign owned] will be allowed into the Russian market with a 50% [investment] quota," he added.
Access of foreign companies to Russia's insurance and banking sectors was one of the main stumbling blocks in bilateral U.S.-Russian talks on the country's bid to join the World Trade Organization.
On day two of the APEC summit, Gref and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab finally signed a WTO accession protocol after Russia agreed it will allow up to 100% foreign ownership of its banks and investment companies when it joins the world's largest trade body, and that it will let foreigners enter its insurance market after a transition period. Until then, foreign insurance companies will be able to operate in Russia through subsidiaries, including 100% foreign-owned non-life insurance companies, with foreign investment in the sectors to be limited to 50%.