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Moscow will stand firm against WTO demands that it let foreign banks and insurance companies open branches in Russia
Moscow will stand firm against WTO demands that it let foreign banks and insurance companies open branches in Russia, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Thursday. "WTO demands that Russia let foreign financial firms open direct branches in the country are inadmissible for us," Kudrin said. "During WTO talks, we considerably opened up the financial markets and improved the terms of operation for foreign financial companies," he said. "The compromise we are offering is advantageous for Russian and foreign financial communities," he said. "Further liberalization could harm Russian companies." Kudrin added that the condition to maintain rules barring foreign financial firms from opening branches in Russia rather than subsidiaries was a key issue in WTO talks to liberalize the domestic financial market. But the minister said Russia's entry into the WTO continued to be a priority for the Russian government in the coming months. Russia has been negotiating entry into the 148-member global trading body since 1994. Current rules require foreign banks to open Russian subsidiaries, which are subject to central bank supervision.
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