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Russia is skeptical about Australia's claimed role as a protector of high standards in the World Trade Organization
Russia is skeptical about Australia's claimed role as a protector of high standards in the World Trade Organization, a Russian official said Wednesday. "Australia regards itself as a protector of moral standards in the WTO, although nobody asked it to play this role," said an informed source in the Russian delegation at the sixth WTO ministerial conference, which opened in Hong Kong Tuesday. Earlier, Australia's trade minister, Mark Vail, said his country was among the WTO founders and upheld the high standards of this organization while considering the accession of new members. "As a result, the Australians have put forward many demands during bilateral negotiations, including those that have not been adopted by the WTO itself, and are still being discussed, and that is what we find rather unfair," the source said. "Therefore, in general, we are rather skeptical about the role Australia has assumed." Nevertheless, the Australian minister said the WTO was interested in Russia's quick accession to the organization. At present, Russia has successfully concluded bilateral talks with 52 out of 58 members of the working group on Russia's WTO accession. Civil aircraft industry, along with agriculture, banking and energy, are the problem areas preventing Russia from concluding bilateral agreements with the remaining members, including Australia, the United States, Canada and Switzerland.
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