GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, Dec. 16 – After almost two decades of negotiations, the Russian Federation was welcomed into the World Trade Organization (WTO) today, in a move that is expected to eventually boost economic activity around the globe. With Russia’s accession, more than 97% of all world trade will take place among the 153 members of the WTO.

Russia could become a WTO member next year, 30 days after it notifies the organization that membership has been ratified by their lower house of Parliament, the Russian Duma.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed today’s decision of Ministers at the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference.

“For the United States, today represents an important milestone in our relationship with the Russian Federation, and advances President Obama's determination to expand the economic dimensions of a bilateral relationship traditionally dominated by political and security affairs,” Kirk explained in a release.

“Russia’s accession is good for the United States, good for Russia, and good for the WTO.  Russia's market access commitments and the steps that it is taking with regard to intellectual property rights, information technology, SPS, transparency, and the full range of WTO rules and disciplines will create a new and stronger basis for conducting trade relations between our countries,” he added.


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