Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Russia is in the “final stretch” of its talks to join the World Trade Organization and may complete the accession process in December, Interfax reported, citing Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Slepnyov.
The country has “in general” reached an agreement on lowering meat import quotas with “key players” and has resolved disagreements on industrial-assembly rules with the U.S., Slepnyov was cited as saying by the news service, adding that a “number of technical” questions remain to be negotiated with European countries.
Russia, the largest economy outside the world trade arbiter, has been trying to join the organization since 1993, surpassing the 15 years China had to wait before becoming a member. Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 and has so far blocked its accession, will continue negotiations with Russia in Geneva on Oct. 7, Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Jalagania told reporters yesterday.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who met Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov in Washington yesterday, said the country’s membership talks “have entered a final phase” after it “made great progress on its accession bid,” according to a statement released after the meeting.
Kirk “expressed confidence that remaining issues, including satisfactory resolution of bilateral discussions between Russia and Georgia, would be addressed constructively and in a manner enabling Russia to meet its objective of concluding the WTO negotiations by the end of the year,” according to the statement.
--With assistance from Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi. Editors: Paul Abelsky, Andrew Langley
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