Russia is months from completing WTO talks-Kudrin



WASHINGTON, April 11 (Reuters) - Russia's progress toward joining the World Trade Organization has been slower than it hoped, and multi and bilateral talks will take months to complete, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Friday.

Kudrin met with several U.S. officials, including U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, while in Washington for the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

"Our roadmap that we basically agreed upon in Davos, with the EU and the US is being implemented maybe a bit slower than we hoped, but all the major items are in the process of being worked on," Kudrin, speaking at a press conference, said through an interpreter.

"We hope in a few months to conclude the multilateral and bilateral talks," he said, but would not elaborate on when the actual deal might be reached or how much closer they are to agreeing on such issues as timber tariffs.

One senior Western diplomat told Reuters on April 4 that political paralysis has delayed the process as Russia waits for President-elect Dmitry Medvedev to replace outgoing president Vladimir Putin on May 7.

Russia is the last major economy outside of the WTO, which sets rules for global trade practices.