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The talks on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization may be completed in mid-2005
Technically speaking, the talks on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) may be completed in mid-2005, Andrei Kushnirenko, deputy director of trade negotiations department of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, told a news conference at RIA Novosti on Tuesday. "After that, technical checkup and pooling the conditions into a single list will follow," he added. The talks with principal trade partners are nearing the end, Mr. Kushnirenko noted. Negotiations on the access to the Russian merchandise market were held with 58 WTO members, including the European Union and have been completed with 27 counties to date. "We are going to come to terms with five to six partners in the coming week or two and reach agreement with the rest by mid-2005, say, the second or third quarter," Mr. Kushnirenko said, adding that services market access talks had been completed with 10 countries, with seven to eight ones remaining. According to the official, a decision on Russia's accession to the WTO may be taken at the WTO meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005. "However, Russia would become a full-fledged member of the organization only in the late first quarter of 2006," he said, noting that a whole range of procedures would have to be fulfilled to this end. Mr. Kushnirenko opined that Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam might be let into the WTO in December along with Russia. "It is a good set of nations from across the world and a good step for the WTO to make for becoming a truly global organization," the official said.
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