Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

WTO not to admit Russia until 2004

The Russian Federation will not become a member in Cancun
The Russian Federation will not join the World Trade Organization at the  September meeting in Cancun, Mexico, this year according to PRAVDA.Ru contacts in Brussels, which declared that the earliest possible date for adhesion will be October or November 2004.

According to PRAVDA.Ru's sources in the European Union, the EU does not intend to allow Russia to join the WTO until a number of important issues have been resolved. These are namely the Trans-Siberian Air Space, the prices of energy, monopolies and market access for services.

The cost of flying over Siberia is considered by the European Union as being far too high, while Russia claims thart due to the enormity of the region, it costs a lot to monitor the aircraft flying over it. The EU is also particularly concerned at the practice of subsidising the price of oil and gas, and the role played by the monopolies in the Russian market, where access for external services is not considered to be free.

For these reasons, the EU will not favour the adhesion of the Russian Federation this year. Although the EU is only one block among many participants in the WTO, it is generally considered that without the consent of the EU and USA, a measure is not approved at the Wiorld Trade Organization.