GENEVA, November 10 (Itar-Tass) — The final formal round of consultations of the Working Party for Russia’s accession to the WTO will be held here on Thursday. A package of documents on Russia’s accession to the WTO is to be adopted at the consultations that will be held at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. The will mark the end of the accession process for Russia that has been under way for 18 years.
The package of documents will include the Working Party’s report, which sets forth the rights and commitments which Russia’s going to undertake at the end of the talks; a list of commitments on tariff concessions for goods and the level of agricultural subsidies, legally-binding agreements and a draft resolution of the WTO General Council.
After the package of documents is adopted, the Working Party comprising more than 60 counties will be dissolved while the documents will be submitted for approval by the WTO ministerial conference. The ministerial conference will be held in Geneva on December 15-17 when Russia’s going to be officially invited to join the WTO. After that, the Russian parliament will have to ratify the package.
The final round of talks is supposed to last for two days. However, there’s a probability that the package is going to be adopted on Thursday.
WTO sources have told Itar-Tass that Russia still has to clarify some issues in its talks with other countries. They concern industrial assembly of cars and access of top-quality beef to the Russian market.
Georgia’s position had remained a stumbling point on Russia’s way to the WTO. Tbilisi’s demands concerned customs checkpoints on the Abkhazian and South Ossetian sections of the border with Russia. Bilateral talks have been on since March with Switzerland acting as a mediator. As result, the sides have managed to reach an agreement. On Wednesday, the Russian and Georgian delegations signed a bilateral agreement on customs administration and monitoring trade with goods.
At the moment, the WTO unites 153 states. They account for 95% of global trade turnover. Russia applied for the WTO membership in 1994. Experts believe that the WTO membership will increase Russia’s GDP by 1.2 percent.