Source AP ©

Poland to block Russia's entrance to WTO

Poland would do anything to sell its meet to Russia. It warned Monday that if Moscow didn’t cancel an embargo on exports of Polish meat and produce, Russia ’s entrance to WTO will be blocked.

Russia imposed the ban in late 2005 after uncovering what it said were violations of food safety regulations. Polish officials maintain that the country's food quality standards meet EU norms and that the embargo is discriminatory.

"If Russia's position toward Poland doesn't change, we will have to vote against Russia's membership in WTO," Deputy Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski told a news conference in Moscow, according to Russian news agencies.

Poland also warned it would continue to block a strategic EU-Russia agreement if the embargo was not lifted.

"Poland has to link these two issues - the embargo and the signing of a new agreement between Russia and the European Union," Ardanowski was quoted as saying.

Relations between Poland and Russia have been frosty in recent years.

Ardanowski said Poland used to export some EUR400 million worth of meat and vegetables to the Russian market, but that Polish companies had tried to mitigate their losses by exporting to new markets, such as Ukraine.

Russia has been trying to join the WTO for several years, but still has to conclude bilateral deals with a number of member nations before it can do so.

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