Russia will fail to meet its goal of joining the World Trade Organization by the end of the year. Although accession talks are making steady progress, a small number of outstanding points - including Russian energy price subsidies and import duties on industrial goods such as airplanes - has delayed Russia's entry, said Maxim Medvedkov.
In addition, Moscow has yet to agree a critical market access deal with Washington that must be concluded before WTO entry, he said. Russia has been negotiating the join the 148-member global commerce body since 1994. It has had to embark on a major set of legislative reforms to fall in line with WTO rules, including producing a new customs code, to satisfy existing members.
Medvedkov said numerous long-standing problems were closer to being resolved, including differences of opinion over Russian farm trade barriers and intellectual property laws. He said new laws were being introduced in some sectors such as fighting piracy, which has been demanded by the United States.
Many WTO members also dislike Russia's energy price subsidies, which competitors say give Russian businesses an unfair advantage in global trade, the AP reports. A.M.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building