WTO accession nearing

Russia’s 18 year wait to join the World Trade Organisation could be over by the end of next year.

Chief Russian WTO negotiator Maksim Medvedkov says accession by the end of 2011 specifying that he was referring to "technological" readiness and some amendments to the Customs Union agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. .

"We are at the final stage of the negotiations. Of the three negotiating blocks we are ready for the completion of two – negotiations on the access to commodity markets and on access to services markets,"

Medvedkov added that Russia still needed to complete negotiations on accession to the global trade body and Russian participation in its decision making process.

“To complete the process we have first of all to complete our bilateral market access negotiations which technically will lead to development of two sets of documents – in terms of access to Russia’s services market, in terms of access to Russia’s goods market, so called schedules of concessions. In terms of benefits to us what is very important is to get ability to participate in a decision making process in the WTO, and also to be engaged in trade negotiations and market access, which from time to time happen under the WTO umbrella.”

The lengthy accession process pursued by Russia is nearing completion after the final bilateral agreement between Russia and the United States was recently reached. A bilateral agreement with Georgia remains to be negotiated, with the Georgian government indicating it was looking to pursue customs and border control issues.