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Russia sees WTO accession next year after deal with EU

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(BRUSSELS) - Russia said Wednesday it had wrapped up a deal with the European Union that should enable Moscow to join the World Trade Organization next year.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov met in Brussels with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, chief international diplomat Catherine Ashton and European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

"After all these talks, we can say now we have practically resolved all the issues," Shuvalov said, seven weeks after an agreement was concluded with the United States, resulting in a decision by Washington to remove its reservations.

"If all goes well, next year will be the final stage for WTO accession.

"Russia now has no more problems dealing with other countries ... relating to WTO accession," he said, adding that President Dmitry Medvedev would finalise the agreement at an EU-Russia summit on December 7.

"There are no unresolved trade issues before the summit," Shuvalov said.

A joint statement issued by the EU said the two sides had "reached understanding" but added that there remained ongoing "multilateral issues to be resolved in such areas as agricultural trade, technical regulations, including sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules, and the investment regime in the automotive sector."

Shuvalov said that export taxes on raw materials, especially timber, had been resolved right down to phasing-out timetables upon accession, underlining that Moscow and Brussels "meet almost every day."

Russia, which opened its bid to join the WTO in 1993, is the last major world power that is not a member of the Geneva-based global trade body.

EU Trade Relations with Russia

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