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Russia confident of WTO membership

Russia confident of WTO membership article image
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is confident the country will join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) despite hiccups with the customs union they formed with Belarus and Kazakhstan. "We will join the WTO despite some delays due to the formation of the customs union. There should be no doubt about this," said Medvedev. The customs union will come into force on January 1, 2010 and will create common external tariffs for the three former Soviet republics, and a single market for 165 million people. However, applying for WTO membership as a customs union is unprecedented. More than 16 years of negotiation exist between Russia and the 153-member World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia has resumed direct negotiations with the organisation and have put eventual membership as 18 to 24 months away. European Union trade chief Catherine Ashton believes Russia has a better chance of joining without its connection to Belarus and Kazakhstan.

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