Russian WTO Bid Stalls Over Barriers to U.S. Meat Exports

RUSSIA - Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization stalled over its barriers to U.S. meat exports, officials from both countries said, hours after a statement from President George W. Bush that a deal was ``almost reached.''

Talks broke down as Russia insisted on auditing the U.S.'s system for certifying livestock at pork and beef producers, Russian Economy Minister German Gref said today at the Group of Eight Summit in St. Petersburg. U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said a final accord may be reached in September. Russia had planned to win an agreement by today, Gref said.

Putin, hosting a G-8 summit for the first time in his hometown, has been seeking WTO accession to gain greater recognition of Russia's growing role in the world economy. The three-day gathering started today and an accord with the U.S. is the last major obstacle to Russia's WTO membership.

``We want Russian accession to the WTO,'' Bush said at a joint news press conference with Putin after pre-summit talks in St. Petersburg. ``The intention to reach an agreement is there. It's almost reached.''

Source: Bloomberg
calendar icon 15 July 2006
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