Russia may open waters for foreign ships

Russia is discussing opening its national waters for foreign ships as it negotiates World Trade Organization entry with the European Union, Transport Minister Igor Levitin said on Friday.

“We need to prepare customs and frontier procedures to open internal waters for foreign flag vessels. We are working them out now,” Levitin said.

The government is discussing opening the Volga-Don canal for foreign ships, which is now being modernized to increase its throughput to make way for ships with deadweight up to 10,000 tons.

Russia has been in membership talks with the 153-nation trade club since 1993 and remains the only major economy still outside the organization. The WTO said Russia could join it in 2011.

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