Next week another round of the talks between Russia and the European Union on Russia’s entry into WTO will be held in Moscow. The polemics never dies away, despite the fact that a positive decision has been already passed at the very top level. A European Commission’s delegation is to come to Moscow especially for the talks. Bilateral talks will be headed by director of the EU General Commerce Directorate Herves Juanjan, from the European part, and by Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Maksim Medvedkov, from the Russian part. The parties will discuss the whole range of problems concerning the relations between Russia and the European Union in the course of Russia's entry into WTO. These are the problems concerning reduction of the tariffs on imported goods, admission of foreigners to the Russian market of services (finance and insurance), financing of the agricultural sector. The documents on the problems mentioned make up the basis for entry into WTO. The previous talks on Russia’s entry into WTO have been ineffective, because the requirements to Russia were too high. And Russia could not agree to it. Even President Putin and Premier Minister Kasyanov had to criticize such policy towards Russia.
After that the situation seemed to have started moving. And the process became irreversible, when the USA and Great Britain told that they would speed up Russia’s entry into WTO.
The problem of agriculture, or to be more precise, state support to the sphere, is to become one of the most complicated problems to be discussed at the talks. First Vice-premier and Russia’s Agriculture Minister Alexey Gordeyev thinks, several requirements to Russia made at the talks on entry into WTO are of a discrimination nature. He says: “Russia’s agriculture does not fear entry into WTO, but we would not like our interests to be infringed upon at the talks.”
Alexey Gordeyev thinks, the requirement to reduce the state support to the agricultural producers and cut the state regulation in the sphere are the discrimination element. At that, as the vice-premier says, the state support to the agricultural sector per one hectare in the EU countries is 50 times more than the existing level in Russia. Besides, the customs duties for import of agricultural products to the European Union is higher than the duties in Russia, told the vice-premier.
It means, the European Union protects its agricultural producers from foreign competitors, but at the same time it wants Russia to meet the requirements that are deliberately impracticable. But for the high tariffs for import of foodstuffs in Russia, European farmers would have started supplying to Russia long ago. And Russia’s agriculture would go begging then under such conditions.
Now Alexey Gordeyev offers to increase the import duty for poultry to 30% for protection of the domestic poultry farming “from a mass import of foodstuffs”. US-imported chicken legs never leave the minister in peace.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/02/01/36399.html