Leuthard wraps up Russia visit

Economics Minister Doris Leuthard has ended a six-day visit to Russia, aimed at forging closer ties between Moscow and Bern.

This content was published on July 12, 2008 - 11:32

During her trip, Leuthard signed an agreement on trade cooperation with Russia, but for the time being there is no free trade accord in sight.

The Swiss business world is split on how fast to pursue the free trade issue. But Leuthard prefers to wait.

"I am personally of the opinion that we should only start negotiations when Russia has joined the World Trade Organization (WTO)," she said on Friday.

Leuthard said that officials had told her that Russia was aiming to join the body next year.

The topic of corruption in Russia was also raised during the trip. Leuthard said that she saw little chance of the issue being resolved soon.

New Russian president Dmitry Medvedev last month pledged to fight the problem, calling it a "systematic challenge".

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