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36

EU: Russia Should Fasten Efforts

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, urged Tuesday Russia to continue its bid to join the World Trade Organization

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, urged Tuesday Russia to continue its bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"As the only major economy outside the WTO, it should hasten its efforts to join," spokesman for the commission on trade affairs Peter Power said at a news briefing, in response to Moscow's intention to back off from commitments made in previous entry talks.

Entry talks between Russia and the European Union (EU) have made little progress as the two sides could not find a compromise on duties on Russia's wood exports.

"Unless we see progress on that, we cannot sign off on Russia's application for the WTO," Power noted.

The EU fears that Russia's wood export would hurt paper-making in the EU, especially in Finland.

Negotiations have been running long as talks for Russia to join the world trade body started in the early 1990s.

The 27-nation EU is mulling to use Russia's bid to join the WTO as a leverage to press Moscow to fully withdraw troops from Georgia.

Russian media quoted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as saying on Monday that his country could not see any advantages after joining the WTO and should freeze some commitments made during entry talks.