Russia Finally a WTO Member

Move could boost Russian, European economies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2011 1:28 PM CST
Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Elvira Nabiullina and WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy pose during a signing ceremony for Russia's admission to the WTO today in Geneva.   (Getty Images/AFP)

(Newser) – Russia finally got its secret decoder ring for the World Trade Organization today, ending an 18-year quest for admittance. The vote is likely to provide a boost for both Russia's economy and that of its top trading partner, the European Union, the AP predicts, with the latter potentially boosting its exports by some $5.2 billion a year. It will also oblige Russia to abide by the Geneva-based group's trading rules. Russia was the only G20 nation that wasn't part of the 153-nation group.

The US' trade representative said Russia's admittance "represents a great cause for celebration" that would be "good for all members of the WTO." To join the organization, Russia had to drop its tariff ceiling to 7.8% and form bilateral agreements with a third of the organization's members. The last of those came in a Swiss-moderated deal with Georgia, which had been blocking Russia's entry since the war the two fought in 2008. They eventually agreed to allow a neutral nation to monitor trade between them. (Read more WTO stories.)

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