MOSCOW, October 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has insured itself against all possible surprises and unexpected turns at the WTO accession talks, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.
“I think we have insured ourselves against possible surprises at the WTO accession negotiations. We will basically have a rather long transitional period for certain sectors of the economy,” Putin said in an interview with three federal television channels on Monday, October 17.
“Nevertheless we will try to ensure that our enterprises and whole industries work in a competitive environment and operate more effectively in order to be more competitive in the long run,” he said.
At the same time, he stressed, “We will make our final decision only if all parameters related to the protection of our economic interests at a certain point are negotiated and committed to paper.”
Russia may become a member of the World Trade Organisation before the end of the year, its Director-General Pascal Lamy said earlier.
For the first time in about ten years that he has been dealing with Russia’s admission to the WTO, Lamy seems to be truly hopeful that the country’s admission to the organisation is real as never before, he said.
“We should cover the remaining distance quickly, without creating big problems for communication with our leading partners in the EU. I hope that the government will find such compromise,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier.
Medvedev has instructed the government to speed up Russia's accession to the WTO and recalled that he discussed this issue in particular with the head of that organisation and the U.S. president.
“We believe it necessary to intensify our efforts to join the WTO,” he said.
Medvedev said Russia would use the shortest way possible to join the WTO. He said the form of accession was less important.
Usually, admission to the WTO takes about 10 years. Russia applied for admission in December 1994 and has repeatedly complained about the delay since then.
Meanwhile, WTO accession talks between Georgia and Russia have brought no result, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze said on October 8.
“The negotiations are over and we can say that they collapsed, ended with no result at all,” Kapanadze, who represents the Georgian delegation at the talk sin Switzerland, told Reuters.
“Georgia cannot give its consent to Russia's entry to the WTO until Russia changes its position on trade within the occupied territories,” the diplomat said, referring to two Russian-backed breakaway regions in Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Russia’s chief negotiator Maxim Medvedkov declined to comment on Kapandze’s remarks. He referred to the agreement between the delegations of Russia, Georgia and Switzerland, which is mediating the talks, not to comment on the consultations.
The Russian delegation has always strictly abided by this agreement and never commented on the closed-doors talks.
The Georgian delegation insists that “Russia comply with the obligations, signed in 2004, to trade with Georgia only through legal checkpoints and legalise customs and border crossing points on the Abkhazian and South Ossetian sections of the Georgian-Russian state border”.