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Russia's accession to the WTO will boost the creation of a new competitive economy
Russia's accession to the WTO will boost the creation of a new competitive economy, Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref said at the cabinet meeting on Thursday. According to him, independent experts have carried out research work which shows that the accession to the WTO will have positive effect both on the growth of production and employment in Russia. Sociological polls show that today already 51% of Russia's population support Russia's accession to the WTO. In 1999 only 16% of Russians approved of such a move, Mr. Gref recalled. As for the measures to contain import are concerned, improvement of the customs administration is more important here than the import duties. To create normal competitive conditions for Russian producers, it is necessary to struggle against false declaring, underrating of the customs value and smuggling of imported commodities, Mr. Gref noted. The economic development and trade minister also hopes that fixing quotas for meat imports to Russia will lead to a growth of the meat output in Russia. In 2004 agriculture boasted a growth, though a modest one (1.7%), but this figure exceeded the Agriculture Ministry's forecast by three times - its planned target was at the level of 0.6%, the minister said. "I hope that the measures to fix quotas for meat imports will have an impact on the growth of livestock farming," Mr. Gref said. "According to the Agriculture Ministry's estimates, the pig-breeding complex will produce results already in 2005. In one or two years this will positively influence cattle-breeding, too," the minister continued. At the same time he admitted that "these measures (fixing quotas) had not yielded anything so far."
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