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Putin Says U.S. Holding Up Russia's WTO Bid

31 January 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said today the United States was the last obstacle to Russia's joining the World Trade Organization.

Speaking at a Kremlin news conference, Putin said all Russia's partners would support its WTO bid, but said that "only the United States is holding [Russia] back."

He also said Russia intends to join the WTO but only under "acceptable" conditions.

Putin reiterated Moscow's position that foreign banks should not be allowed to open directly owned branches in Russia. He said that would not allow Russia to control flows of capital in and out of the country.

The question of allowing foreign banks to open branches in Russia is one of the most disputed issues in the negotiation process between Russia and the United States on its entry to the WTO.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS, AP)

WTO Status Of RFE/RL Broadcast Countries

An exhibition of the history of the WTO in Singapore in 1996 (courtesy photo)

WTO Members:
Armenia: Joined on 5 February 2003.
Croatia: Joined on 30 November 2000.
Georgia: Joined on 14 June 2000.
Kyrgyzstan: Joined on 20 December 1998.
Macedonia: Joined on 4 April 2003.
Moldova: Joined on 26 July 2001.
Romania: Joined on 1 January 1995.

Countries That Are Not Yet WTO Members:
Afghanistan: Submitted its application in November 2004.
Azerbaijan: Submitted its application in June 1997.
Bosnia-Herezgovina: Submitted its application in May 1999.
Belarus: Submitted its application in September 1993.
Iran: Submitted its application in July 1996.
Iraq: Submitted its application in September 2004.
Kazakhstan: Submitted its application in January 1996.
Russia: Submitted its application in June 1993.
Serbia and Montenegro: Submitted separate applications in December 2004.
Tajikistan: Submitted its application in May 2001.
Ukraine: Submitted its application in November 1993.
Uzbekistan: Submitted its application in December 1994.

For more information, click here.

For an exclusive RFE/RL interview with former WTO head MICHAEL MOORE,click here.