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Talks on Russia's entry into the WTO may be completed in 2005
Talks on Russia's entry into the WTO may be completed in 2005, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said at the Investments in Russia's Future: New Markets and Opportunities conference. "The talks are currently going at a good rate and are entering the final stage," he said. "There is a chance the talks will be completed in 2005." According to him, for Russia, the most important condition for joining the WTO is that its obligations in the WTO must not infringe upon its interests. "Presently, we have managed to reach agreements without infringing upon Russia's interests," he said. Mr. Zhukov said that in the mid-term outlook, natural resource monopolies would have to give up non-core assets. He said that Gazprom, UES and Russian Railways in particular would have to separate the natural resources monopoly components from the non-monopoly components. The state's control over the infrastructure component will remain so that all the market entities have equal access to infrastructure, Mr. Zhukov noted. According to him, the monopoly components will be detached into separate units and then become independent structures. By 2007, only property that is prohibited from privatization - defense industry enterprises - will remain under federal ownership. Mr. Zhukov said the number of enterprises which are currently owned by the government "does not correspond to the market economy realities." Mr. Zhukov said that part of them would be separated
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