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Russia could complete WTO accession talks by year's end


STRASBOURG, October 3 (RIA Novosti, Cristina Rodriguez) - Russia could complete its World Trade Organization accession talks before the end of this year, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said Monday.

Kimmo Sasi, PACE Rapporteur on Economic Development of Russia, said the important thing for the country is to conclude the negotiating process by the time WTO economics ministers meet in Hong Kong in mid-December.

Sasi's statement came after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov reaffirmed the Russian government's determination to complete the accession talks by the year's end.

"Joining the WTO is one of our most important priorities," he said, addressing the U.S.-Russian Business Council.

Sasi said meeting the target would not be easy, but possible and that talks were making headway. Russia has yet to reach understanding with the United States, which he said is less willing to compromise than other WTO members.

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