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Russia to join World Trade Organisation

[ November 7, 2011   //   ]

Russia is expected to join the World Trade Organisation by the end of the year, after a deal was brokered with its regional rival, Georgia on 3 November. Securing the latter country’s agreement was the final barrier to Russia’s admission to the WTO which dates back to the 2008 war when Russia recognised Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and which had threatened to derail plans for Russia to finalise its accession by the end of the year.

However, under a Swiss-mediated deal an independent company will monitor traffic at both regions’ borders and will also act as a mediator between Georgian and Russian customs, although Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili said that he ultimately wanted Georgian customs officers to be allowed to work alongside the international observers.

Russia’s negotiations to join the organisation date back nearly two decades and it is currently the only G20 country that is not also a WTO member. It is also the largest non-WTO economy.

WTO members are expected to hold a formal vote on Russia’s accession at the WTO’s eighth ministerial council on 15-17 December.