Russian EU Ambassador warns of more complications in wood tariff dispute
Russia's Ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, does not see any rapid solutions on the horizon to the dispute over Russia's export tariffs on raw timber.
On Wednesday, Chizhov hinted that the dispute, which mainly affects the forest industries of Finland and Sweden, could become more difficult in the future.
"When big problems are solved, little ones are left behind, which then become big problems", Chizhov told Helsingin Sanomat in Brussels on Wednesday.
By "big problems" the Russian Ambassador was referring to Russia's possible membership in the World Trade Organisation.
"On that scale, the wood tariffs are a small problem."
In the view of the EU, Russia cannot become a member of the WTO if it imposes tariffs on the export of its wood. Russia, for its part, does not want to lift the tariffs before it is a member of the WTO.
The impasse is made more difficult by the fact that most Russian businessmen are in no hurry to get Russia into the WTO.
Negotiations on the wood tariffs are being headed by the European Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson. Finnish ministers also take up the issue with the Russians on a regular basis.
Previously in HS International Edition:
UPM: Russian wood tariffs could reduce paper production already this year (6.2.2008)
No solution yet on Russian wood export tariff issue (19.3.2008)
Commissioner Mandelson: EU cannot pressure Russia into removing wood tariffs (18.2.2008)
Putin defends wood tariffs during last press conference of presidency (15.2.2008)