Russia, U.S. may end WTO talks by end of Oct.-deputy Prime Minister

Other News Materials 25 October 2006 13:56 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Russia may complete talks on its accession to the World Trade Organization with the United States by the end of October as planned, a Russian deputy prime minister said Tuesday.

Russia, the largest economy outside the world's leading trade body, has completed bilateral talks with 57 of the 60-member Working Party of the WTO. Negotiations are continuing with the U.S., Moldova and Georgia, reports Trend.

"I do not rule out that possibility," Sergei Zhukov said.

Negotiations with the U.S. broke down in July over differences on agriculture, specifically meat. The development was unexpected, since the main point of contention throughout the talks had been access of financial services companies to the Russian market and the lack of intellectual property rights protection in Russia.

Moscow wanted to sign a protocol with Washington at Russia's debut summit of the Group of Eight nations, but the deadline was moved back to October.

The U.S. currently enjoys concessions under bilateral agreements signed in 2005, which will remain in force until 2009. The agreements raise quotas on U.S. supplies of poultry meat to 1.2 billion metric tons, of beef to 450,000 tons and of pork to 502,000 tons.

Russia's economics ministry warned that it will review the meat quotas for the U.S. if WTO talks in October fail.