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Russia hopes for WTO deal with US by G8 summit

Written by: Staff

MOSCOW, July 4 (Reuters) Russia wants to reach a trade deal with the United States for entry to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the July 15-17 Group of Eight summit, a senior aide to President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

''We would want this very much, but any process has two partners,'' said Sergei Prikhodko, a senior foreign policy aide to Putin, when asked by a reporter if Russia could agree with the United States on WTO entry by the summit of rich nations.

''Our partners show a very responsible approach but joining the WTO is a very responsible process, which has its ups and downs,'' he said at a briefing.

Striking a trade deal with the United States is key to Russia's entry but talks with Washington have snagged -- some say stalled -- over issues such as access to Russia's financial markets and intellectual property rights.

''We are not over-dramatising the situation. In principle, there is such a possibility but it will not be a tragedy if the final deal will come later,'' Prikhodko said.

Russia needs a bilateral deal with the United States before entry can happen, though formal accession often happens months after paperwork and deals have been agreed.

Putin will host world leaders including President George W.

Bush at a G8 summit in the northern Russian city of St Petersburg on July 15-17.

Putin said in March the United States was artificially holding up Russia's accession to the 149-member trade body by insisting on conditions that have little to do with the WTO.

Russia has been negotiating entry to the WTO for more than a decade and Kremlin officials say the talks have reached a decisive stage, with agreement from Washington as the main hurdle.


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