Mandelson in Russia for talks on WTO accession


EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is 19 June in Moscow for meetings with key members of the new Russian administration, ahead of the EU-Russia Summit on the 27 th of June. He met with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, and Minister for Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina. He met with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The talks focused on Russia 's WTO accession, and also deal with other bilateral and multilateral trade and economic issues. Mandelson also delivered a speech on the future of EU-Russia relations to a high level conference in Moscow .

On the visit, Commissioner Mandelson said: "I remain optimistic about the opportunities ahead for the EU-Russia partnership. Economic liberalisation and convergence will form the bedrock of that partnership. We need to create a strong, overarching framework and we need to see Russia in the WTO. "

The EU has repeatedly argued that Russia 's WTO accession is in the interests of Russia 's economic goals, especially its increasing external economic interests. Accession is also in the interests of the global trading system, with Russia the only economy of any size outside the WTO. Substantial progress has been made in bilateral talks and Russia 's accession is within reach. For the EU there are only a few remaining outstanding issues that need to be solved, notably the issue of export duties, including those concerning exports of wood.

While in Moscow Mandelson delivered a keynote address to a conference entitled " Russia in the 21 st Century", where he argued that the EU and Russia need to think clearly about the strategic dimension of their common interests in order to make the relationship more effective. Mandelson argued that economic convergence and closer business ties will facilitate a closer political partnership.