Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s countries on Sunday hailed Russia’s expected admission to the World Trade Organization.
“We look forward to the conclusion of Russia’s WTO accession process at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference” in December, they said in the APEC summit declaration.
The three-day APEC summit takes place in Honolulu, the capital of the U.S. state of Hawaii.
Russia, the only major economy outside the WTO, has been trying to join the organization since 1993. The agreement of all member states is necessary for accession to the WTO, but Georgia refused to approve Russia's entry ever since the two countries fought a brief war in August 2008.
Russia and Georgia finally signed a Swiss-brokered agreement clearing the way for Russia’s WTO admission on November 9, including deployment of international observers to monitor the movement of goods across sections of Russia’s borders with the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The WTO Working Party on Russia’s accession then approved the package spelling out Russia’s terms of entry to the global trade body and recommended that Russia be admitted at the December 15-17 Ministerial Conference, where ministers are expected to approve the documents and accept Russia as a WTO Member.
Russia will have until June 15, 2012 to ratify its accession package. Russia will become a full-fledged member of the WTO thirty days after the accession documents are ratified by the Russian parliament.