WTO accession only if conditions are favourable for Russia
Russia will defend its economic interests in its WTO accession bid and will join only on conditions it considers favorable, a senior trade official said Friday.
Igor Shuvalov, President Vladimir Putin's "sherpa" or personal representative for G8 affairs, said following talks with his Japanese counterpart that Russia planned to complete all bilateral talks on WTO accession by the end of 2005, but that currently talks with the United States were most problematic.
"The United States laid down extra requirements and its negotiating position expanded," Shuvalov said. "This is unacceptable since they returned to their previous negotiating positions."
The main issue stalling Russia's accession is American demands that it allow foreign banks to open branches in the country. Russian legislation currently prohibits foreign banks from opening branches in the country, although they may set up subsidiaries.
The U.S. also insists that Russia settled problems over protection of intellectual property rights, insurance policies and agricultural machinery.
Shuvalov will visit Europe after talks in Canada, the United States and Japan on preparations for the summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in St. Petersburg slated for July 15-17. Russia currently holds the rotating chair of the G8.