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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

13 CEOs Back Russia in WTO

Chief executives of 13 international corporations that do business in Russia have asked the U.S. and Russian presidents to speed up Russia's entry to the World Trade Organization.

The CEOs sent a letter with the request to U.S. President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, a spokesman for the American Chamber of Commerce said Monday.

Ford, Boeing and several banks signed the appeal, Kommersant said.

The American Chamber of Commerce and the signatories are keeping the contents of the letter secret. "The text of the letter is not for publication," a Boeing spokeswoman said.

A Kremlin spokesman and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Sean Spicer said they had not seen the letter, which came as Russian and U.S. negotiators wrapped up their latest round of talks.

"We believe that we are close to resolving all remaining issues in the bilateral [deal] and both sides are now in the process of consultations," Spicer said by e-mail.

The United States and Russia agreed last summer to wrap up the talks by the end of October. Spicer indicated, however, that the deadline was off the agenda. "Our aim continues to be to finalize our bilateral agreement as soon as possible," he said.

WTO talks may come up when Putin meets Bush at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on Nov. 18 and 19.