Russia not to join WTO

Moscow, July 31 :

Russia’s chief negotiator for joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said today that the country won’t become a member in 2006 or possibly even the next year, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

Russia is the largest economy outside the 149-nation WTO. Its efforts to join have been bogged down in trying to reach a bilateral agreement with the United States.

Unresolved issues between the countries include Russian barriers on various types of farm products, Russian efforts to curb rampant piracy of American-copyrighted movies, recordings and computer programs, and high tariffs that Russia places on foreign planes to protect its own aircraft industry. US trade representative Susan Schwab said this month that significant progress on many issues had been made and that hopes were high for an agreement within a few months.