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Today, on 16 December 2011, Russia cleared the final hurdle to become a WTO member. WTO Ministers adopted Russia’s WTO terms of entry at the 8th Ministerial Conference in Geneva. Russia will have to ratify the deal within the next 220 days and would become a fully-fledged WTO member 30 days after it notifies the ratification to the WTO.
Trade Ministers welcomed Russia as a new member to the Organization and called this accession a historic achievement. According to WTO Ministers, Russia’s accession to the WTO will strengthen the multilateral trading system, making the WTO a more universal organization.
"This is a historic moment for the Russian Federation and the rules-based multilateral trading system. After an 18-year marathon, the finish line has been crossed. This is a double win for Russia and the WTO. The package we have just adopted is the result of hard technical work, led by modernizing political leadership," said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy.
The Working Party Chair on Russia’s accession, Ambassador Stefán Jóhannesson (Iceland), said that all members contributed to Russia’s accession, by constructing the consensus necessary to conclude the accession. The documents before the Ministerial Conference, constituting Russia’s terms of entry into the WTO, resulted from a tough and successful engagement between Russia and WTO members.
Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, read a special message from the Russian President to the Ministerial Conference which said that this accession was the result of a long and complex negotiation favourable to both Russia and WTO members. He added that the WTO will contribute to securing international economic stability and that Russia stood ready to contribute to its work.
Russian Economic Development Minister, Elvira Nabiullina, said: "This is an event we have been awaiting for a long time. In these difficult times, risks of protectionism are looming on the horizon and Russia will contribute to combat protectionism as a WTO member." She added that this accession was not a finishing line but a starting point for Russia.
At the end of the meeting, Pascal Lamy and Elvira Nabiullina officially signed the protocol of accession.
The commitments undertaken by Russia are the following.
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