Russia offered economy class ticket for WTO at 1st class price

Other News Materials 17 July 2006 10:47 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - In its bid to join the globe's biggest trade organization, Russia is being offered "an economy class ticket for the price of 1st class one", Russia's foreign policy Sous-sherpa in the G8 said Sunday.

Russia first applied to join GATT, the forerunner of the World Trade Organization, in 1993 and has now signed bilateral protocols on accession with 57 out of the 58-member Working Party on its WTO bid, reports Trend.

Andrei Kondakov, who is also head of the Foreign Ministry economic department, said the conditions put forward by the United States for Russia to join the WTO could be described as "WTO plus," adding that the conditions were more than standard.

Until Georgia announced it withdraw its signature this week in the midst of political tension with Russia, the U.S. remained the only country left on Russia's way to the organization.

Kondakov said Russia was being asked to undertake commitments that had nothing to do with the standard WTO accession procedure and added that Russia thought this position was too tough.

"It will be difficult to achieve any impressive results soon," he said.

Russia's economics and finance ministers have both said they hope to see the talks with the U.S. wrapped up by the end of October.