WTO odyssey approaching final straight?

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev is expected to announce this week that Russia is ready to settle the issue of its entry into the World Trade Organisation within weeks. It's understood he'll be raising the subject at this Friday's Russia-EU Summit in Nic

When will Russia finally join the WTO? – that was the only question left unresolved as Russian WTO negotiator Maksim Medvedkov met with businesses to discuss progress on accession.

“Russia’s economy will not die without WTO. We have alternative methods of securing our trade policy interests. At the same time we would like to be in and we will be in as soon as our partners will agree that we should join.”

Russia has been in negotiations about joining the WTO since 1995. Its entry to the bloc has been delayed by a number of issues, including rules managing Russian state monopolies, export taxes, and agricultural subsidies.

At the end of August Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia may abandon some of the deals it had previously made in order to join the organization.  Moscow has cut quotas for poultry imports and raised duties on imported cars.

Evgenny Nadorshin, Chief Economist at Trust Bank, says Russia's anti-crisis measures and domestic market protectionism won't help the process, but the global financial crisis could do.

“There is more space to compromise actually. Especially taking into account that our internal market is still strong. And as our internal market is attractive we can use it as kind of economic feature that may improve our bargaining position negotiating our new terms of WTO entry.”

Russia is set on finalizing its entry into the WTO this year. Analysts say, its chances are slim. The next meeting of the working group will take place in Geneva on November 24.

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