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Russia, EU To Discuss WTO Entry

21 May 2004 -- Russian and European Union trade officials say they hope to sign an agreement on Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization during a summit in Moscow today.

The summit is the first between Russia and the EU since the bloc expanded toward Russia on 1 May by adding 10 members.

The Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref said Russia's six-year effort to join the organization that sets global trade rules is "close to its end."

"We have already discussed the most difficult issues, and our specialists are now working on suitable wording [for the agreement]," Gref said.

EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said in Moscow yesterday that they have agreed on the architecture of the deal but have some more details to negotiate.

Russia still needs to sign deals with the United States and some other WTO members, but the EU is its biggest trading partner.