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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

December Goal for WTO Talks

Russia hopes to complete negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization by the end of this year, Russia's chief negotiator said Tuesday, local news agencies reported.

Russia had already signed agreements with 36 countries and completed negotiations with another five, although agreements still had to be signed with those countries, the agencies quoted negotiator Maxim Medvedkov as saying.

"We are counting on concluding negotiations by December of this year," Medvedkov said, Interfax reported. "We do not see any insurmountable obstacles in this process."

Russia still had to strike a deal on accession to the WTO with 13 other countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Australia, he said.

Accession to the global trading club requires candidates to negotiate individual deals with each member country.

Russia is one of the last major trading nations that have yet to join the WTO.

Negotiations with the United States are focused on import duties on aircraft and access to financial services, while tough issues in talks with Brazil, Argentina and Australia include meat import quotas and duties on sugar imports, Medvedkov said.

Russia and its leading trade partners have said they hope an accord on entry will be ready for trade ministers to sign at a WTO conference set for Hong Kong in December. Formal entry could come a few months later.

Moscow has been seeking entry to the WTO for more than a decade, and President Vladimir Putin has said admission to the organization is one of the priorities of his presidency.