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Medvedev assures Customs Union not to hamper Russia's WTO bid

07-15-2010 16:29 BJT

MOSCOW, July 15 (Xinhua) -- President Dmitry Medvedev assured a business delegation led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday that Russia's customs bloc with Kazakhstan and Belarus was no barrier to World Trade Organization (WTO) membership.

At a forum in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg attended by Russian and German businessmen and politicians, Merkel voiced hope that Russia's WTO bid could be completed.

"We want Russia's accession to the WTO to be completed and hope the Customs Union will not make the situation more complicated. We want to see transparent investment conditions," she said.

In response, Medvedev said: "Our entry into the Customs Union has not halted our efforts towards WTO membership. I think that this year we will make significant progress in this direction."

Russia, the largest economy outside the WTO, has been striving for entering the world trade watchdog for years.

The Russian head of state meanwhile promised to provide favorable conditions for foreign investors intending to work within the three-nation customs bloc.

"In regard to the Customs Union, we will of course do everything that is needed so that investors feel comfortable within the framework of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan...everything will be done," he said.

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