Statements of Head of Department for Trade Negotiations Maksim Medvedkov
Russia Reaches Accord With Georgia on WTO, Negotiator Says
By Alena Chechel and Helena Bedwell, Nov 3, Bloomberg
Russia has reached an agreement with Georgia that may clear the way for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization, the chief negotiator for Moscow said.
“Russia and Georgia reached an agreement on Russia’s entry to WTO,” Russian chief negotiator Maxim Medvedkov said by telephone today. “Now we have only some little technical details to approve our bid; the most important things are left behind.”
Georgia said last month it was close to an agreement on Russia’s entry after it agreed to Switzerland’s proposal for a compromise between the governments on international monitoring at the borders. Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in 2008.
Medvedkov predicted a successful conclusion next month.
Representatives from the United States Trade Representative and the State Department said today they were pleased with progress in the Georgia-Russia negotiations, though the accord has yet to be made final.
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze said he welcomes Russia’s steps regarding international monitoring. He predicted that Russia could join the WTO soon.
“We welcome that Russia agreed and now we are traveling to Geneva to hold meetings where the agreement can be signed by Nov. 10,” Kapanadze said on the telephone today.
Georgia is the final WTO member to give its approval after the European Union backed Russia’s bid last month. Joining the WTO may boost Russia’s $1.5 trillion economy by more than 3 percent in the medium term, according to the World Bank.
With 2 percent of global gross domestic product, Russia is the biggest economy and the only Group of 20 nation outside the WTO, whose members carry out 97 percent of world trade. The world’s biggest energy producer is counting on WTO entry to help lure foreign investment and reduce its reliance on energy exports, which account for 40 percent of budget revenue.
Ties between Russia and Georgia soured further after Russia recognized breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.