Russia to enter WTO by end of 2006

Moscow, February 18:

Russia may enter the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the end of 2006, the RIA-Novosti news agency quoted economic development and trade minister German Gref.

Russia will be able to finish multilateral negotiations necessary for entering the trade organisation in the first half of 2006 and complete the final formal procedures by the end of the year, he said. Accession by the end of 2006 is “a realistic timeframe,” Gref said. Russia must also close bilateral trade agreements with other WTO trade members who request them before it can become a member. Talks are still open with only two countries, the United States and Colombia, a Russian official said.