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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Signs Costa Rica Deal

Russia has only Georgia in its way to accession to the World Trade Organization after it signed a trade agreement with Costa Rica on Wednesday.

An Economic Development and Trade Ministry spokeswoman said Russia signed the agreement with Costa Rica in Geneva on Wednesday, two months after it struck a milestone deal with the United States on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

The bilateral deal is one of a series that Russia must conclude on its path to membership in the 149-member WTO, which sets global trade rules. Any member can demand a bilateral deal with an applicant.

Georgia withdrew its signature from an earlier deal after Russia imposed a ban on its wine and mineral water last spring.

Relations between Moscow and Georgia worsened in the fall as Moscow slapped a sweeping transport and postal blockade on the country in retaliation for the brief arrest of four Russian officers in Tbilisi accused of spying.

A tentative way out the impasse was hinted at Tuesday, when the country's chief epidemiologist said a ban on Borjomi mineral water could soon be lifted.

(MT, AP)