Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Photos: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest in Paris

    Read more

  • Limited Gaza truce extended until midnight

    Read more

  • Germany's Tony Martin wins 20th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid militia clashes

    Read more

  • Kerry in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Second black box found at Air Algérie crash site in Mali

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

Europe

Russia gains entry to WTO after 18-year wait

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-16

The World Trade Organisation granted its final approval for Russia to join the group on Friday after a record 18-year-long bid for membership. The Russian parliament must now ratify the accord before June 15 of next year.

AFP - Russia secured the final approval Friday to join the World Trade Organization after a record 18 years of trying.

The WTO's 153-members gave their second and final approval for Russia's membership bid, ushering in the last major economy outside the trade club.

The Russian parliament will have until June 15 next year to ratify the accord and bring it into force.

Moscow's lead negotiator Maxim Medvedkov had said earlier that he expected the deal to be ratified "early next year."

"This is clearly a historic moment for the Russian Federation and for the rule-based multilateral system after an 18-year marathon," said Pascal Lamy, director-general of the WTO.

"What you have to know about marathons is that the last mile is the worst and toughest and the best moment is when you cross the finishing line which is what we are doing today," he said.

Describing the accession as a win-win for both the WTO and Russia, Lamy said it "accords the quality WTO label" on Russia and with the membership the trade body "will cover 97 percent of world trade."

"We are rapidly approaching universality in the coverage of global trade," said the director-general.

Making a reference to the storm over Geneva, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov welcomed the accession saying: "The storm is a sign of a wind of change -- change for the better."

Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina pointed to the turbulence besetting the world economy and said Moscow was ready to counter any threat of protectionism.

"The world economy is living through not the best of its times. The risks of protectionism always looming in the horizon. By joining the WTO we are ready to counter these risks actively," she said.

Russia applied to join the trade body in 1993 but talks dragged on and its brief war with Georgia in 2008 further delayed its application.

No other country has had to bargain so long before being granted entry. China was the previous record holder with 15 years of negotiations for membership.

Moscow cleared its last hurdle for WTO accession when it finally clinched in November a deal with last hold-out Georgia, which was able to veto any accession bid by virtue of its membership to the trade body.

In all, Russia sealed 30 bilateral agreements on market access for services and 57 on access for goods in order to secure the green light from other WTO states.

For the overall package, Moscow agreed to cut its tariff ceiling from the 2011 average of 10 percent for all products to 7.8 percent.

The average tariff ceiling for agricultural products is cut to 10.8 percent from 13.2 percent currently, with manufactured goods at 7.3 percent, down from 9.5 percent.

Russia also agreed to limit farm subsidies to $9 billion (6.9 billion euros) in 2012 and to gradually reduce them to $4.4 billion by 2018.

Six demonstrators were seen on Friday outside the ministerial conference hall braving the rain and gale-force winds holding posters saying: "WTO, Russians protest."

Meanwhile, the United States invoked a clause under the WTO rules to point out that it was unable to treat Russia equally as other WTO member states unless it obtained approval from Congress to do so.

The move is not unusual, as the Jackson-Vanik amendment adopted by Congress prevents the federal government from according the so-called Most Favoured Nation status to politically sensitive countries.

However, Russia, in a retaliatory move, decided to invoke the same clause against the United States, marking the first time that an acceding country was using the recourse.
 

Date created : 2011-12-16

  • WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION

    France pledges support for Russia's bid to join WTO

    Read more

  • AVIATION

    WTO ruling leaves both Airbus and Boeing claiming victory

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama and Medvedev conclude raft of trade deals

    Read more

COMMENT(S)