Russia will not join the World Trade Organisation this year and maybe not even next year. That is according to the country’s chief negotiator on WTO membership Maxim Medvedkov. Russia is the largest world economy that is not part of the international trade body which has one hundred and forty nine members.
Medvedkov said: “We’ve been talking about how we can wrap up the negotiations on the common multilateral issues by the end of this year and then by mid-2007 we can complete the discussions with those countries that have not yet signed bilateral agreements with Russia.”
Russia has yet to reach bilateral trade agreements with the United States, Costa Rica, Georgia, and Moldova, any of which could block Moscow’s bid to join the WTO. Meanwhile, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has said a deal may still be possible to save the collapsed world trade talks. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he and President Bush have agreed to make “one final effort” to revive the talks.