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Moldova Ties Russian WTO Entry To Wine Ban Repeal

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin (left) shares a glass of wine with Romanian President Traian Basescu during the opening ceremony of the Moldovan Wine Festival in Bucharest, December 2005 (AFP) May 16, 2006 -- Moldova is reportedly asking that Russia lift its ban on imports of Moldovan wines before it agrees to Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Octavian Calmic, Moldova's chief WTO negotiator, was quoted as saying Moldova supports Russia's entry to the WTO in principle, but on the condition that problems in bilateral relations, including the wine ban, are solved.

Maxim Medvedkov, Russia's chief WTO negotiator, confirmed that Moldova was linking Russia's entry to its lifting of the wine ban.

Before it can join, Russia must sign bilateral trade deals with all WTO members.

The biggest obstacle to Russia's joining the WTO are tough trade talks with the United States. Medvedkov said he believed a deal could be reached by the middle of the summer.

(Reuters, AP)

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