Round of Russia-Georgia WTO consultations constructive-official



The regular round of the Russian-Georgian bilateral consultations within the framework of the process of Russia 's admission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has passed constructively and successfully, head of the Russian delegation at the talks, chief of the trade talks department of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Maxim Medvedkov told.

“The meeting with the Georgian delegation held with the participation of the WTO Secretariat that perform the functions of moderator, was effective, we considerably advanced in finding joint approaches to the settlement of questions our Georgian colleagues still have, in particular, on the activity of border checkpoints and control in the issue of trade between Russia and Georgia ,” Medvevkov noted. “We agreed that our experts will work with the Georgian colleagues and corresponding ministries so that to coordinate the remaining separate questions,” the official added.

The next round of the consultations will be held in late March – early April also in Geneva . “We will look at the results, but I think that they will be positive,” according to Medvedkov. “So far our dialogue is developing rather constructively and within the framework of existing agreements we will be able to continue it successfully,” the Russian trade representative said.

He recalled that at the very beginning of the work with the Georgian colleagues the sides reached an agreement that “we sit at the table of trade talks on Russia 's admission to the WTO, that issues raised by the Georgian side are of technical nature and we should find just a technical solution.”

“We don't want to raise at the WTO venue the political problems that exist or may emerge in relations between the two countries,” Medvedkov stressed.

The Russian chief negotiator with the WTO also said on the Vesti TV news channel earlier that even with the worst scenario of Russia 's accession to the WTO, the impact of this process on its macroeconomics will be insignificant. He said the Higher School of Economics had prepared the analysis of possible economic and social consequences of Russia 's accession to the WTO. “We foresee what will take place up to 2015 after Russia 's accession to the WTO,” he said, noting, “With the worst scenario the country can lose 0.5 percent of the growth of GDP.” However, the representative of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade stressed that “as a results of the prolonged negotiations that lasted for more than one year it has become possible to achieve a scenario that cannot be described as the worst, since there will be no losses.”

Medvedkov said as well, “ Russia has yet to coordinate five sections of the keynote report on the terms of accession to the WTO.” He also said informal multilateral consultations in Geneva on the section of the report “on intellectual property,” “technical regulation” and “phytosanitary measures” will enable Russia clearly to see the timeframe of the conclusion of the negotiating process of Russia 's accession to the WTO.

There is a technical possibility to conclude the negotiations on Russia 's accession to the WTO in August 2008, Medvedkov said on Wednesday.

Asked when Russia might join the WTO, Medvedkov said “different forecasts have been made” but “there is a technical possibility to conclude the negotiations in August.” “We are strongly determined to achieve a positive result and are interested in joining the organisation at the earliest opportunity,” Medvedkov said.