16/7 Tass 68
MOSCOW, July 16 (Itar-Tass) — Russia and the United States have failed to settle disagreements on pork import within the WTO accession talks, Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said on Saturday.
Commenting on her recent visit to the United States, Nabiullina said Russia and the U.S. “reached serious progress in the term of industrial car assembly on the territory of Russia”.
At the same time, the minister said, “The disagreements on pork import continue to slow down the talks.”
Russia, a top market for U.S. meat products, cut the 2010 import quota for poultry to 600,000 tonnes from 750,000 tonnes in 2009. For pork, the quota was cut to 57,500 tonnes for 2010 from 100,000 tonnes in 2009. Unilaterally, Russia decided to cut the volume of pork import twofold. According to the U.S. Senate, Russia tries to justify its restrictions by veterinary and sanitary requirements.
However, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia would not give up its new industrial car assembly regime in exchange for admission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“The uneasy dialogue with the European Commission and U.S. partners on Russia’s WTO accession goes on,” he said at a meeting with workers of the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Works.
“They want us to give up our requirement to put out 300,000 cars a year and have 60 percent of car components manufactured domestically. We have stated that we are not going to change our position. This is a red line that cannot be overstepped, since we must not go against the interests of our manufacturers.”
During the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June, Nabiullina said if Russia failed to agree on the remaining WTO accession issues, the entry could be postponed for years.
It was necessary to reach agreement on all remaining issues related to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), she said.
According to Nabiullina, “certain formal procedures like as the ratification can take place in 2012.”
“We discussed the WTO accession procedure and decided that it should end by the yearend.” “The agenda is very difficult. In order to end the process by the yearend or by the beginning of next year we should reach agreement on all remaining issues – industrial assembly, meat import, agriculture support, veterinary and phytosanitary measures – till the end of July,” the Russian minister stressed.
“We should agree on these issues till the end of July. If we fail to do this, it will take years to complete our accession process,” she said.
At the same time, she said she believed that the parties would succeed in reaching agreement. “I’m an optimist,” she added.