Russia gets accepted into WTO
GENEVA - The World Trade Organization formally approved Russia's membership on Friday, completing 18 years of negotiations on the terms and conditions for it to join the global trading club.
Russia is by far the biggest economy outside the 153-member WTO and it has taken longer than any other country to wrap up its accession negotiation. Russia now has six months to ratify its membership and will become a member 30 days later.
The decision was taken mid-way during a three-day WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement: "This result of long and complex talks is good both for Russia and for our future partners."
"For us, the end of these negotiations is not the finish but the start," Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina told the talks.
In a speech, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said: "This is clearly a historic moment for the Russian Federation and the rule-based multilateral system after an 18-year marathon."
"The accession of Russia to the WTO will cement the integration of the Russian Federation into the world economy and will bring greater certainty to business operators and trading partners," he said.
With Russia inside the club, the WTO would now account for 97 percent of world trade, according to Lamy.
The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade said it would provide U.S.-based businesses "the opportunity to operate with greater transparency and predictability in the Russian market". — Reuters
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