Russia to join WTO before yearend, membership talks in final stages

Chances are high that Russia will join the World Trade Orgazniation (WTO) before the end of 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.

Speaking during a news conference after the EU-Russia summit in Nizhny Novgorod, Medvedev said Russia’s WTO membership talks were in their crucial final stage and were expected to be completed within a month.

Russia is the world’s only major economy not to be a member of the WTO.

“I have called on our EU partners to complete the talks within a month so that we can move ahead to the stage of signing the documents on Russia’s accession to the WTO by the end of the year,” Medvedev said.

“The chances are high,” he added.

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, echoed Medvedev but said that Russia and the EU should be in “constant dialogue” over the next few months, including in regard to food sanitary issues and the investment regime for the car industry.

Medvedev said Russia “relied on” the EU to support its WTO entry bid.

The EU’s envoy to Moscow, Fernando Valenzuela, warned that Russia’s ban on EU vegetable imports following a deadly E. coli outbreak could undermine its campaign to join the world trade body.

The disease has so far left at least 26 people dead, most of them in Germany.

Russia’s chief sanitary official, Gennady Onishchenko, said Moscow could soon allow imports of some types of the EU-produced vegetables after it received guarantees from Brussels that they were safe.

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, June 10 (RIA Novosti)

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