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USTR Kirk Welcomes Bilateral Resolution of Key WTO Issues With Russia

October 01, 2010

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk today welcomed bilateral resolutions on issues that need to be addressed in the terms for the Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“As President Obama has made clear, having Russia in the rules-based system of the WTO is clearly in the United States’ interest, and we will continue to offer our support as Russia completes the accession process,” said Ambassador Kirk. “By reaching bilateral agreement on key issues related to the accession process, Russia can now devote additional energy to addressing remaining steps at the multilateral level. The United States will continue to provide support to Russia as it accomplishes these steps, and to contribute to continued momentum in the process, in cooperation with other members of the WTO.”

U.S. and Russian negotiators have been meeting intensively since the June 24 meeting between Presidents Obama and Medvedev, in which the two leaders noted their shared interest in completing Russia’s WTO accession process as soon as possible and directed their negotiators to settle the small number of bilateral issues related to Russia’s WTO accession by September 30, 2010.

Through a series of meetings, the United States and Russia have reached agreement on the substance of a number of Russian commitments that should be reflected in the final terms for its accession. These commitments relate to areas of particular importance to U.S. trade policy interests, such as intellectual property rights (IPR), government procurement, and transparency in the decision-making process on trade-related issues. Given the multilateral nature of the WTO accession process, these bilaterally-agreed solutions will be considered by other members of the Working Party on Russia’s accession.

In addition, the Russian Federation has enacted amendments to laws related to the protection of IPR, to reflect relevant WTO requirements and earlier commitments made to the United States on IPR. The United States welcomes this important step, which also contributes directly to completion of the WTO accession process, and looks to the effective implementation of these new laws in accordance with bilateral understandings and WTO requirements.

As Russia continues to advance in its efforts to join the WTO, the United States looks forward to further enhancing bilateral trade relations with Russia. Ongoing and vigorous efforts will be required with respect to a number of important areas, such as the enforcement of intellectual property rights, trade in meat and other agricultural products, and Russia’s regulation of imports of products containing encryption technology. Ambassador Kirk welcomes the willingness of the Russian government to engage constructively in these efforts.