GENEVA (B)--Russia wants to join the World Trade Organization "as soon as possible, but not at any price," deputy Trade Minister Maxim Medvedkov said Nov. 1. Progress depends on whether the country can secure protection from foreign competition for a series of infant industries, such as banking, financial services and agriculture. Trade problems in the steel sector also need to be resolved, said Medvedkov, who is also Russia's chief negotiator to the WTO.

"Our aim is to achieve substantial progress in accession talks by the middle of next year," Medvedkov told journalists.

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