EU says Russia could join WTO within a year

* EU says Russia could join the WTO within one year

* Moscow says resumes talks next month

By Lidia Kelly

MOSCOW, May 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Russia could become a member of
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) within a year, the head of
the EU delegation to Russia said, as Moscow planned to resume
talks it suspended last year.

“What’s left – there is no complexity in it,” Fernando
Valenzuela told Reuters this week.

“If there is will on the Russian side to go for the
membership — and of course that means also doing the effort
that has to be done — then we think that it is a process that
could go relatively fast.

“This could be done in one year,” he said.

Russia’s plans to join the WTO, running over 16 years, were
suspended last year when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said
Moscow would first create a customs union with neighbours
Kazakhstan and Belarus and the three would join the WTO
together.

Analysts struggled to explain Putin’s move, which came at a
time when Russia was closer to joining the WTO than ever. Some
saw in it frustration at the slow pace of talks, or Moscow’s
unwillingness to open its markets at the peak of crisis.

The WTO, the EU and the United States said the move for the
three states to join together would be unprecedented and very
complicated.

The creation of the customs union itself proved to be more
complicated than anticipated and the three countries have
postponed its creation from the planned launch date of July 1.
[ID:nLDE60E1JI]

On Tuesday, Russia said it would resume unilateral talks to
join the WTO next month [ID:LDE64O2FJ].

“We have nothing against the Customs Union,” Valenzuela
said. “Simply, the process of acceding to the WTO — if you try
to accede as a customs union of these countries — that
multiplies the complexity and the difficulty extremely.”

Russia remains the largest economy still outside the
153-member body.

“There is an overall understanding that the process should
be sped up,” Galina Martinkevich, deputy director of the foreign
economic activity analysis and regulation department at the
Russian economic ministry.

Growth Stocks
Editing by Ralph Boulton

EU says Russia could join WTO within a year