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Putin accuses US of hindering Russia`s WTO bid

Last Updated: Thursday, December 3, 2009 - 17:54

Moscow: The United States is hindering Russia`s efforts to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"We have the impression that for reasons unclear to us, certain parties, including the United States, are hindering our accession to the WTO," Putin said in televised remarks.

Russia began negotiations for WTO membership in 1993, but the talks have hit numerous roadblocks over the years and today Russia remains the world`s largest economy still outside the WTO.

Over the past year Russian officials have expressed frustration with the accession process and floated a plan -- later dropped -- to enter the global trade body as part of a customs bloc with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Putin affirmed however that "WTO accession remains our strategic goal."

He also criticised the United States over the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a law imposing trade restrictions on Russia that dates back to the Cold War and remains a sticking point in US-Russian relations.

"This is a clear anachronism which certain lobby groups in the US Congress are using to advance rather narrow, self-interested economic goals," Putin said, singling out meat and poultry producers.

The 1974 amendment slapped trade penalties on the Soviet Union in response to Soviet restrictions on Jewish emigration and remains on the books despite the collapse of Communism. Russia has long pushed for its repeal.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, December 3, 2009 - 17:54
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