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Sweden Tells Russia: Stop Hiking Wood Tariffs

May 8, 2008 - Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling yesterday urged Moscow to stop increasing tariffs on wood exports to avoid delays to Russia joining the World Trade Organization.

Russia increased its tariffs on wood exports in June 2007 and April this year, and has planned a third increase on Jan. 1, 2009. The tariffs have upset Sweden and Finland, home to several of the largest paper and pulp producers in Europe.

The countries claim the tariffs contravene the EU's agreement with Russia about the conditions for the country's entry into WTO.

"The latest increase was a considerable setback, but now we make a fresh effort and demand zero-tolerance toward further increases and a clear plan on how the tariffs can be removed. That is a prerequisite to avoid that Russia's entry into the WTO is delayed and complicated," Bjorling said in a statement.

"Together with Finland and the EU Commission we continue working with the issue," Bjorling told local news agency TT at a meeting (May 7) with paper companies SCA, Stora Enso, and Smurfit Kappa Group.

SOURCE: Associated Press




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