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Official: Russia faces 5 year delay on WTO Membership

Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister and Russia's envoy to the World Trade Organization Maksim Medvedev said in a 16 August interview with "Gazeta" that if Russia does not enter the WTO next year, its accession will likely be delayed until at least 2007.

"In 2004, there will be a new Duma and presidential elections in Russia and the United States. The negotiating resources of our partners will be overtaxed because 2004 will see the conclusion of the global round of WTO negotiations," Medvedev said.

He added that it would take Russia at least a year to bring its legislation into accord with the new WTO standards and only after that can accession talks begin again. Even if the talks go smoothly, he concluded, Russia could enter the WTO only in January 2007.

(RFE/RL 16.viii.02)

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