Putin hopeful of inking WTO agreement with U.S. before G8 summit

Other News Materials 16 June 2006 11:14 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Russia could sign a bilateral agreement on WTO accession with the U.S. ahead of next month's G8 summit, but expressed reservations over America's position.

"I think it is possible to sign the necessary protocol before the G8 summit," Putin told reporters in Shanghai Thursday, reports Trend.

But he added: "Unfortunately, the U.S. negotiators constantly change their stance on the issue. They often return to issues that were considered to be agreed."

Russia now has signed bilateral protocols with 57 members out of the 58-member Working Party on its accession to the World Trade Organization. Talks with the United States have been fraught over a number of issues, including access to Russia's banking sector, intellectual property rights, import duties, and agricultural subsidies.

Putin said the American stance contradicted rules of diplomacy, as did "attempts to negotiate a protocol in accordance with the U.S. legislation, rather than with WTO rules."

Russia this year holds the chair of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, and will host the group's annual summit in St. Petersburg, Putin's hometown, July 15-17.