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World Trade Organization Watch: Russia and United States To Announce WTO Deal?

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A jeweller polishes a ring made for an Italian firm at the Krasnoyarsk nonferrous metals plant in Siberia, in a file photo. Russia has reached a bilateral trade deal with Washington to join the WTO, a major breakthrough after 13 years of tortuous negotiations, the head of the country’s business lobby said on Friday.

Reuters: Russia, U.S. to announce WTO deal soon

Russian and U.S. leaders are likely to agree soon a bilateral deal opening the way for Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, a top Kremlin official told Reuters on Friday.

“Talks have been going on nearly round the clock … I think completing the talks is fully realistic,” Arkady Dvorkovich, the head of the Kremlin’s economic staff, said in an interview.

Sources in the Russian capital said a formal announcement was planned for later on Friday.

News overnight that President George W. Bush plans a stopover in Moscow on his way to an Asian economic summit in Hanoi increased expectations that a WTO deal had been clinched. The Asian summit starts on November 18.

“The word in Moscow is that there is an agreement,” Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Sharonov. “We hope that the two presidents might finalize the negotiations in Vietnam early next week.”

Remember this photo at the G-8 Summit in July?

U.S. President George W. Bush, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, July 15, 2006.

So, what has changed since mid-July? Russia agrees to no longer pirate American films and music?

How about Russia making nice about Iranian sanctions and nuclear technology transfers to Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Mullahs?

Is this too much to ask of the Russians?

Who knows in the Bush State Department?

Stay tuned……

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