Consultations on WTO admission to start in Geneva

GENEVA. October 12. KAZINFORM. Consultations on the admission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the Customs Union (of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) will be launched in Geneva on Monday. During the week delegations from the three countries will hold meetings with such key WTO members as the United States, EU, Canada, Australia, India and China; Kazinform refers to Itar-Tass.

The WTO press service told Itar-Tass that the Organisation's official schedule for this week does not contain any events with the participation of the Customs Union, however, confirmed that multilateral informal consultations will be held.

In June, the delegations of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan informed the WTO that they suspend individual talks on WTO admission.

Kazakhstani representative at talks on WTO bid Zhanar Aitzhanova told Itar-Tass earlier that "WTO entry is a priority for our three countries - Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. That is why we will continue talks." "However, before our entry we have decided to clearly stipulate those terms that will be common for all three countries," Aitzhanova said. A negotiating team with Maxim Medvedkov at the head has been set up for that. In reply to a query when will talks on WTO entry within the framework of the Customs Union be ended, she said things would get clearer after consultations in Geneva.

In Washington last week she met with US president's adviser Michael McFall as well as held talks at the office of the US representative at trade talks and at the Department of State. Aitzhanova said that the recent visit to the USA of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and her current consultations have helped to fill that information gap that developed after a statement of the prime ministers of the three countries on WTO entry within the framework of the Customs Union. According to Aitzhanova, now American partners understand better the stance of Astana on those decisions that were taken by the leadership of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

A code of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is ready and will be signed in Minsk on November 27, Chairman of the Belarusian Customs Service Alexander Shpilevsky said earlier. The document will be effective starting from January 1, 2010.

The negotiations on the terms on which the three Customs Union member-states (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) may be admitted to the World Trade Organisation can be completed over a period of 18-24 months, Russian Deputy Economic Development minister Andrei Slepnev said earlier. "On unified conditions this process may be completed within a year and a half, two at the most," he noted. From the technical standpoint there exist no obstacles to taking the talks to a successful outcome. "As for political ones, it is a very different subject," he stated; Kazinform cites Itar-Tass. See for full version.

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