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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mandelson Urges Swift WTO Deal

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson urged Russia to join the World Trade Organization this year, and said membership would help to diversify the country's economy.

"Russia has one last step to make," Mandelson said at a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, adding that he did not see many obstacles remaining to the country's WTO accession.

Outstanding issues include a Russian ban on meat imports from Poland, which has held up the start of talks on a new cooperation deal between Moscow and the European Union, as well as Russian import duties and lumber exports.

None of these issues individually would block the country's WTO bid, Mandelson said.

Alexei Mordashov, chairman of steelmaker Severstal and chief of the Trade Policy Group of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, said at the news conference that Russia would benefit from joining the WTO.

But "there is growing concern in Russia that, despite all the efforts, we still have big uncertainty [whether] an accession deal will take place in a reasonable period of time," Mordashov said.

n The EU will raise its quota for Russian steel imports this year, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said, Bloomberg reported. Mandelson confirmed that the EU and Russia had reached an agreement on the quota.