BUENOS AIRES, December 13. /TASS/. Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin has met with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom on the sidelines of the 11th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization. They discussed lifting of trade restrictions, the Russian minister told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.
"For example, there was a short meeting with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom. We discussed the need to gradually move towards lifting trade barriers," he said.
Oreshkin said that Russia and the European Union will prepare lists of trade restrictions to improve the situation in the mutual trade. "We discussed this very same story (of lifting trade restrictions) a month ago when Ambassador of the European Union to Russia (Markus Ederer) came to me. <...> We discussed with the EU envoy that we will be now preparing lists of trade restrictions that both countries have and will see how to move further to improve the situation," he said, adding that the European Union will necessarily include a food import ban in this list.
"The EU will certainly mention it in its list. But here the Russian authorities’ position seems clear to me; there is nothing new [in it,]" he added.
Speaking at the conference earlier, Oreshkin called on the WTO members to make the global trade free of sanctions and stated that sanctions are one of the most aggressive forms to protect the domestic market. "We considered it right to state about the issue of sanctions because we see that sanctions are not just politics, but often economy as well. This issue won’t be discussed within the conference (formally,) - this is more of a prepared statement - and then we’ll see," the minister explained.
Overall, the Russian economic development minister noted that Russia and the EU have similar positions within the WTO ministerial conference. "As for common WTO issues, we’ve got similar positions with the EU, and there are many issues that we support together. Europeans support what we suggest, and we’ve got a close look with the EU on the importance of the WTO as a system for operation and settlement of the global trade," Oreshkin noted.