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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Schwab Slams Russia's WTO Shortcomings

Russia is dragging its feet on meeting the demands of the 150 members of the World Trade Organization to join the body, the top U.S. trade negotiator said.

"Russia is not moving forward with the kinds of WTO commitments it would need to become a full-fledged WTO member," U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.

In November, the United States and Russia reached agreement on tariff cuts Russia had to make to join the Geneva-based WTO, clearing one of the last hurdles for an accord that might add $10 billion per year to the Russian economy. Russia now needs to negotiate with the WTO as a whole, and those talks have gone slowly, Schwab said.

Russia, the last major economy not a member of the WTO, has sought for more than a decade to join the bloc, which sets international trade and investment rules. Membership stands to boost the Russian economy through increased trade and foreign investment.

The United States said it would negotiate with Russia over its intellectual property protections in the WTO-wide talks.

Russia has only Georgia in its way to accession to the World Trade Organization after it signed a trade agreement with Costa Rica on Jan. 24.

The bilateral deal is one of a series that Russia must conclude on its path to membership in the 150-member WTO. Any member can demand a bilateral deal with an applicant.

(Bloomberg, MT)