18:02 GMT +319 February 2019
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    Russia to withdraw WTO pledges if no agreement with U.S. - Putin

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    MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will revoke all obligations it has assumed during negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization if it cannot reach agreement with the United States on its WTO bid, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

    "We believe that the conditions under which the Russian economy functions are more open and liberal than in certain WTO member countries. If for some reason we fail to reach agreement, we will reject all the obligations on agreements that we have taken on ourselves and are fulfilling, before joining the organization," Putin said.

    Russia now has signed bilateral protocols with 57 members out of the 58-member Working Party on accession. Talks with the United States have been complicated over a number of issues, including access to Russia's banking sector, intellectual property rights, import duties, and agricultural subsidies.

    Putin said America's position contradicted rules of diplomacy, as did "attempts to negotiate a protocol in accordance with U.S. legislation, rather than with WTO rules."

    Russia this year holds the chair of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, and will host the group's annual summit in St. Petersburg, Putin's hometown, July 15-17.

    A Kremlin aide said earlier Tuesday that Russia wanted to sign a bilateral deal with the United States on its WTO accession at the July summit.

    "But if it does not happen, it will be no tragedy," Sergei Prikhodko said. "We will continue working."

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