Russia set to end 18-year wait to join WTO

By REUTERS
November 3, 2011 12:38

 
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MOSCOW - Russia is on the verge of ending its 18-year wait to join the World Trade Organization after accepting a trade deal with Georgia, the last big obstacle to membership of a club that will seal its integration into the global economy.

Russia's accession will be the biggest step in world trade liberalisation since China joined a decade ago, making its $1.9 trillion economy more attractive to investors 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After nearly two decades of tortuous negotiations with the 153-member club, Russia's last challenge was to reach a deal with Georgia to stop its entry being blocked by the former Soviet republic with which it fought a short war in 2008.

Russia's top negotiator said late on Wednesday that Moscow had accepted the terms of a compromise deal proposed by Tbilisi on monitoring mutual trade, and a Georgian negotiator said on Thursday he expected the agreement to be signed within a week.

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