(Nov. 17) The U.S. and Russia expect to conclude bilateral negotiations on market access issues related to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, according to a Nov. 11 statement from the office of the U.S Trade Representative.

The deal was expected to be formalized at global trade talks in Vietnam later in November.

Congress can’t block the deal, but some members have questioned Russia’s willingness to allow imports of U.S. agricultural products and wanted more details of the pact.

“We have an agreement in principle and are finalizing the details,” said U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in the USTR statement.

Shipments of fresh fruit to Russia have been increasing in recent years.

U.S. exports of apples to Russia in 2005 totaled $6.8 million, up from $2.2 million in 2002. U.S. pear exports to Russia were $3 million in 2005, up from just $69,000 in 2001.