Putin says US last hurdle to Russian WTO membership

Jan 31 | Updated: Feb 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US, the worlds biggest economy, is the last major hurdle to Russias membership in the World Trade Organisation.

I know the position of the US president and well find a compromise, Putin told about 1,000 Russian and foreign journalists in the Kremlin today. All other countries support Russias bid to join the WTO.

Russia, the biggest economy outside the WTO, wants to become a member to increase its exports and its influence over global economic policies.

Russia must reach individual trade agreements with WTO member nations before it can join and the one-to-one accords will then each be incorporated into Russias final WTO commitments.

US has urged Russia to open its financial services industry, lower import duties on aircraft and crack down on piracy, among other conditions needed to win admission to the 149-member trade body.