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Russia might conclude talks on accession to the World Trade Organization by the end of 2005
Russia might conclude talks on accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the end of 2005, announced in a joint interview with RIA Novosti Russian Vice-Premier Alexander Zhukov and Swiss Economy Minister Joseph Deiss on Friday. Mr. Zhukov and Mr. Deiss had a meeting on Friday in the framework of the current World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss the prospects of Russian-Swiss economic relations. According to the Swiss minister, Russia might conclude the talks on accession to the WTO by the start of the Conference of WTO ministers scheduled for December 2005 in Hong Kong. "We talked about the WTO and our bilateral consultations (on Russia accession). I hope Russia will become the WTO member very soon, maybe even in Hong Kong," Mr. Deiss said. "We have such a goal in mind," confirmed Alexander Zhukov in the interview with RIA Novosti. "At present, we are conducting actively negotiations with the United States. In essence, it is the key country. We have already come to an agreement with the European Union, China, India and many other countries. Overall, we still have to ensure the consent of the United States and countries that orient themselves on the U.S." In addition, according to Mr. Zhukov, Mr. Deiss supported the idea of Russia's accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). During the meeting in Davos, Mr. Zhukov and Mr. Deiss agreed to intensify economic cooperation between Russia and Switzerland. Sometime in the fall of this year, probably in October, Mr. Deiss is planning to visit Russia with a group of Swiss businessmen to "see all opportunities for economic cooperation on site." "If we look at the numbers, we realize that the volume of our bilateral economic cooperation does not correspond to our potential," the Swiss minister believes. During the meeting, the Russian vice-premier informed Mr. Deiss that deputy economic development minister Vitali Savelyev had been appointed Russian chair of the Russian-Swiss Joint Intergovernmental Committee for trade and economic development.
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