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The Economic Development and Trade Ministry does not expect Ukraine to impede Russia's WTO accession bid should it be admitted to the organization before Russia
The Economic Development and Trade Ministry does not expect Ukraine to impede Russia's WTO accession bid should it be admitted to the organization before Russia, a WTO point man said Monday. "According to our information, our Ukrainian colleagues are at a more advanced stage in negotiations than Russia. Rumor in Geneva has it that Ukraine could become a WTO member before the end of this summer. Ukraine is our major trading partner, and the sooner it starts following WTO norms and practices, the better for us," Russia's chief WTO negotiator Maxim Medvedkov said. But he also said that once it becomes a WTO member, Ukraine will automatically receive the right to open bilateral negotiations with Russia on its WTO accession bid. "Until now our Ukrainian colleagues have said they do not intend to hinder our accession to the WTO or raise any obstacles," he said Economic Development and Trade Minister Gref said Russia will complete bilateral negotiations with Vietnam by the end of April and with Cambodia before the end of May. Asked about the progress of negotiations with Georgia, Gref said the two sides are currently looking for a compromise formula. Georgia said last week it would not alter its position on Russia's WTO bid. Georgia has refused to sign a bilateral WTO agreement with Russia, demanding it stop trading with its breakaway regions and insisting all goods should pass through checkpoints run by the central government. Moscow has argued it is more a political than an economic issue. Russia is still to hold bilateral accession talks with four countries and conduct multilateral talks. Officials said earlier the country could join the 150-nation trade organization in 2007. Medvedkov said Russia expects talks with Georgia on border crossing points on the Russian-Abkhazian and South Ossetian border will be held later this month.
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