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    Putin says U.S. hampering Russia's WTO accession

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    "We have received a list of questions from our American colleagues that require additional agreements that we thought had been settled long ago," Putin told a meeting of top businessmen. "The negotiations process is being artificially set back."

    MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused the United States of slowing down Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization.

    "We have received a list of questions from our American colleagues that require additional agreements that we thought had been settled long ago," Putin told a meeting of top businessmen. "The negotiations process is being artificially set back."

    "We are interested in joining [the WTO], but we will take this step if it satisfies all participants in the process, and primarily Russia and the [Russian] economy," he said.

    The chief executive of steel giant Severstal, Alexei Mordashev, said Russia needed to join the WTO, but should focus on how to make the most of its prospective membership.

    Putin said accession terms were more important.

    "Along with the industry you represent, and other sectors interested in [WTO] accession, there are industries that expect us to take a well-considered decision," he told Mordashev.

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