Russia became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, following nearly two decades of negotiations.
Russia was one of the world’s last major economies to join the Geneva-based institution, having previously expressed concerns about the potential influx of Western goods and services.
As part of its membership, Russia has agreed to lower import tariffs to less than eight per cent from a current average of around 10 per cent. It has also made commitments to open trade in 11 service-sectors, including the banking and insurance industries.
Russia joins the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, which will become the body’s 157th member on Friday.
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said “joining the WTO is a sign of confidence in the organization and in what it can deliver for its members”.
(Pascal Lamy photo by Pietro Naj-Oleari via European Parliament/flickr.com)