WTO trade ministers on Friday accepted Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization. The accession protocol was signed for Russia by Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina and for the WTO, by its Director General Pascal Lamy.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey, and WTO ministers attended the ceremony of signing the accession protocol.
Russia has been working to join the WTO since 1993. The last remaining obstacle for its entry has been Georgia, which has refused to approve Russia's entry ever since the two countries fought a brief war in August 2008 when Georgia attacked South Ossetia to bring it back under Tbilisi's central control. After the war, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another ex-Georgian republic, Abkhazia.
Earlier on Friday WTO ministerial conference approved all the documents relating to Russia's accession to the organization including commitments on market access for goods and services. Russia will become a full member of this international organization with all its rights and responsibilities within 30 days of Russian ratification, expected to occur in the summer of 2012, Russian officials at the conference said.
Termination of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment in the United States, which limits trade with Russia and which is an obstacle to the application of WTO rules between the two countries, ought to occur soon, Russian Deputy Minister Igor Shuvalov said.
“Termination of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment is a matter of few months,” Shuvalov said after the ceremony of signing the accession protocol.
The White House said earlier that termination of Jackson-Vanik Amendment would be a priority for the administration in 2012.