WTO approves Russia's membership after marathon

December 16, 2011 19:27

GENEVA/MOSCOW - Russia was admitted into the World Trade Organization on Friday after 18 years of negotiation, finally binding it into the global economy two decades after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Russia's $1.9 trillion economy was the largest outside the WTO, and accession will help reduce its dependence on energy exports that left it cruelly exposed to the oil price collapse of 2008.

Accession by Russia, with the second-largest nuclear arsenal after that of the United States, into a rules-based club should also help limit dangers of a repeat of regional conflicts like its 2008 war with Georgia. Trade conflicts have repeatedly exacerbated tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi.

"This result of long and complex talks is good both for Russia and for our future partners," President Dmitry Medvedev said in a message to a WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva that formally approved Russia's membership.

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