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  Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Russia's agriculture minister will attend talks in Geneva on April 22-23
Russia's agriculture minister will attend talks in Geneva on April 22-23 to clear the last major obstacle to joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), the economics ministry said on Friday.

"A new round of talks in Geneva will feature Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev. He will meet with officials from the Cairns Group and U.S. representatives," said Maxim Medvedkov, head of the trade negotiations department at the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry.

State subsidies for agricultural producers remain the last major issue at talks on Russia's bid to join the WTO.

The WTO's Cairns Group comprises 19 agricultural exporting countries from four continents.

Moscow has been allocating $3-4 billion from the federal and regional budgets annually in support of its agricultural producers in recent years. However, it wants to raise state support when it enters the WTO.

Gordeyev, Russia's third WTO negotiator after Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and economics minister Elvira Nabiullina, earlier said subsidies could be raised to about $9 billion.

Medvedkov also said the date was now being fixed for Russia's next round of WTO talks with Georgia.

Georgia earlier vetoed Russia's accession to the global trade body. Relations between the two former Soviet republics have deteriorated since the Western-leaning Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2004.

The South Caucasus state says it will stop blocking Russia's WTO bid only after Moscow honors its 2004 commitment to close down its border checkpoints with Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

On Thursday Georgia urged the UN Security Council and the OSCE to call emergency meetings after Russia announced measures to support the two breakaway provinces earlier this week.

Russian president-elect Dmitry Medvedev, set to take office on May 7, said earlier this week he expects the country to join the WTO by the end of this year. Russia has been seeking membership of the WTO since 1993. So far, it has completed bilateral talks with over 60 states.


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