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The president of the EBRD Jean Lemierre did not rule out today that Russia might join the WTO next yea
The president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Jean Lemierre, did not rule out today that Russia might join the World Trade Organization (WTO) next year. He told RIA Novosti that Russia would join the organization soon, although he said 2006 was a more likely date than 2005. Lemierre said, on the one hand, Russia's accession to the WTO depended on talks with all the organization's member countries and the signing of the relevant agreements. On the other hand, he said it depended on how ready Russia was to join the organization. "It has to be clearly understood that the WTO means competition," Lemierre told RIA. "Your country's products must be competitive with [those of] other countries." He added that the bank, as an investor, was interested in the country's internal situation. The EBRD president's forecast coincided with the opinions of Russian government representatives. Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref and the head of the Russian delegation at the WTO negotiations, Maxim Medvedkov, had previously said that Russia intended to finish negotiations with its trade partners on admission to the WTO by the end of 2005. If that happens, the decision on Russia's accession to the organization could be made at the WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong this December. With account taken of the formal procedures involved, Medvedkov said Russia could become a full WTO member in mid-2006. According to him, Russia has now completed bilateral talks and signed the relevant agreements with 85% of its trade partners, including the European Union, China, Japan and Korea. Negotiations with the United States, Canada, Brazil and others are ongoing
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