Bush, Putin agree to speed up WTO talks
Updated: 2005-12-24 08:40
U.S. President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have
agreed to complete trade talks needed for Russia to join the World Trade
Organization "as soon as possible," the White House said on Friday.
"The president called President Putin today to discuss the negotiations on
Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization," U.S. national security
council spokesman Fred Jones told reporters.
"They agreed that we have made substantial progress in our bilateral
negotiations over the past year, that we are close to completing them, and that
we need to continue to work hard to complete them as soon as possible," he said.
Russia, the only country among economic giants that have not joined the WTO,
hopes to be a member of the 149-member Geneva-based trade regulation body in
2006. It must complete WTO accession talks with the United States and Australia,
with whom it is at odds on several key trade questions.
Washington wants Moscow to open up its agricultural and financial services
markets, as well as lower taxes on imports of passenger planes.
The former also insists that the latter ensure better protection of
intellectual property rights.