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From: Alexei Portanski [asiportanski@caravan.ru]
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Subject: WTO Information Office Moscow

We are pleased to inform you that since August this year a WTO Information Office under the aegis of the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) has been operating in Moscow, Russia.

The World Trade Organization presently consists of more than 140 states and Russia ought not to be outside the truly universal structure. Moreover, the WTO itself is interested in having Russia joining the ranks of its members.

The process of Russia's accession to the system of multilateral trade agreements has been in progress since 1993. In the middle of the last year accession negotiations entered their active phase, and at present the Russian delegation has commenced on discussing concrete commitments our country is to take upon itself in the process of its joining the WTO. In this regard public interest to the negotiations has rose noticeably.

The negotiations drawing genuine public attention, it became evident that the large-scale process of the utmost importance should receive adequate coverage, since the domestic businesses and the public do not fully comprehend the changes the Russian economy is awaiting and the problems it has to tackle in the framework of the WTO accession process. Shedding light upon this multidimensional topic and bridging the information gaps on wide range of issues related to Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, was the principal reason behind setting up the WTO Information Office in Moscow.

One of the main objectives of our unit is to provide for comprehensive coverage of and to render all-round assistance to the process of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization through establishing and maintaining contacts with official institutions, press and the public.

For this purpose we have launched a web-site www.wto.ru that reflects the position of the Russian delegation at the WTO accession negotiations. It targets both the users searching for primary information (for this purpose reference materials on the World Trade Organization are provisioned) and those interested in the specific aspects of the negotiations in process, such as tariffs, services, agricultural sector, etc. Extracts from the Russian and foreign Mass Media allows the web-site visitors to keep track of the current discussions on the WTO related issues in Russia and on the world arena. The latest news about the accession negotiations, information on the WTO internal processes, analytical materials and statistical information, as well as answers to the questions of the audience are published on the site.

WTO Information Office in Moscow also issues a newsletter "Russia on the Way to the WTO" that is distributed among representatives of the businesses, authorities and public organizations all over Russia. The newsletter is published every two months, its electronic version in Russian is available at www.wto.ru website.

From now on the Johnson's Russia List alongside with a number of the Russian Mass Media will receive the latest news distributed by the WTO Information Office.

With the most sincere wishes to the Johnson's Russia List readers,

Alexei Portanski,
WTO Information Office

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