Russia has secured the future right to export its vodka and other drinks products to key European Union (EU) export markets at import duty rates charged on cargoes from World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries.

 

Moscow has struck deals on future trade relations with 29 WTO members, including the EU, also setting future tariff levels that Russia will charge on all imported goods.

 

These unpublished agreements cover 87% of Russia's imports and are an important step towards its joining the WTO, which would bring these deals into force.

 

Accession is unlikely this year, but may happen in 2006. A key membership benefit is the 'most favoured nation' principle, where all countries pay the same import duties when exporting particular products to a member country.