"We're making steady progress with Russia on completing their bilateral
accession agreement which is a part of Russia’s bid to join the World Trade
Organization (WTO). The United States believes it is in the interests of the
U.S. and the global economy to have Russia in the rules based WTO system. We
hope and believe we are close to concluding our bilateral negotiations. The
negotiations must move on two tracks: completing bilateral agreements and then
completing multilateral negotiations on how Russia will transform its trade
regime to conform to WTO rules.
"Accession negotiations are complex and take time. But I must be clear: the
remaining issues with Russia's accession – both bilateral and multilateral – are not new problems and they
are not dissimilar to those issues addressed by others who have acceded to the
WTO. We have been clear about those issues throughout the negotiations. The
United States is working hard with Russia and our trading partners on both
aspects of the negotiations.
"Russia must live up to the rules and obligations which all WTO members
accept, whether it is on Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary standards, customs
regulations or greater protections for intellectual property rights, for
example. In negotiations last week, we narrowed differences on bilateral issues
and pushed the multilateral process forward. Consistent with the commitment of
President Bush, we will continue to work in good faith with the Russians to move
this process forward to a successful conclusion."