Time running out for Russian WTO accession warns minister

Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization could be delayed for years if talks involving the Russian delegation do not succeed in resolving all the remaining issues, Russia’s Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said on Saturday.

“We have to agree all the problematic issues by the end of July,” Nabiullina said, adding that among the most thorny questions was tariffs on cars assembled in Russia, support for the agricultural sector and veterinary and phytosanitary control.

Her comments echoed Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who said on Friday that Russia’s accession to the WTO could be drawn out if the remaining issues were not resolved in the next few weeks.

She recalled that all the major issues had to be sorted out this year, so that next year only the formalities of the process remained.

If issues like tariffs on cars assembled in Russia remained unresolved, it would be impossible to get an agreement, she said.

“We either get a broad approach, or there will be a long pause,” she said.

Asked whether she thought a resolution was likely, Nabiullia said: “I am an optimist. At least, we are doing all we can to get an agreement.”

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