In the course of Russia's joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) measures should be taken to protect interests of national commodity producers, specifically, "the Russian agrarian sector from the expansion of foreign suppliers of agricultural produce." This statement was made by deputy chairman of the Federation Council Andrei Vikharev, who spoke Tuesday in the upper house of the Russian parliament at the round-table devoted to the terms of Russia's accession to the WTO and its consequences for Russia's agro-industrial complex. Currently, the Western countries retain the extremely high level of agrarian protectionism, Vikharev said. That's why Russia should learn to toughly assert its interests to smooth the negative consequences of its entry into the WTO, the senator stressed. He also advocated the increase of financial support of national commodity producers. "Insufficient financing of the Russian agro-industrial complex makes our agricultural goods non-competitive," Vikharev admitted. Chairman of the Federation Council's agrarian committee Ivan Starikov also spoke in favour of the fact that Russia "should develop a clear mechanism of protecting national interests." He deems it expedient to include in Russia's negotiating stance limitations on terms of accession of foreign companies to trade in foodstuffs.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969