Russia says WTO entry talks may be delayed by years

June 18, 2011 19:34


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Russian accession into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) could be delayed by several years if there was no agreement on key issues by the end of July, Russia's economy minister said on Saturday.

Russia aims to become a member of the trade watchdog in December but Elvira Nabiullina said that the outstanding issues included agriculture, Russia's car assembly regime as well as controls on the import of food and livestock.

Sources close to negotiations process told Reuters earlier this year that elections in Russia and the United States would inevitably stall the Russian accession process if there was no conclusive agreement by the second half of 2011.

Russia applied to join the WTO's predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), in June 1993 and its $1.5 trillion economy is by far the largest economy outside the 153-member organisation.

President Dmitry Medvedev said last week there was a "very high chance" that Russia would become a WTO member in 2011 but complained about delays in negotiations.

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