Russia does not intend to consider the necessity of unifying its external and domestic oil and gas tariffs at negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization, said Russian trade and economic development minister Herman Gref after the government session devoted to the Russian stand at talks with the WTO.
"None of the countries discussed the unification of oil and gas tariffs while joining the WTO, and it cannot be on the agenda in talks with Russia," he stressed. The "WTO plus" formula, implying special conditions for joining the organization is unacceptable for Russia, the minister believes. The country is only ready to join the WTO on standard terms, he said.
The government session approved the main positions of Russia in talks with the WTO, but the final version will be ready in September, after consultations with branch departments, Gref pointed out.
"In some cases the government's stand has been liberalized," he said, though not mentioning exact examples. This decision was influenced by a recent government meeting with representatives of Russian large businesses, the minister pointed out.
Earlier Gref stated that Russian businessmen supported joining the WTO on even more liberal terms than those proposed by the government.
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