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    Russia's Gref hails WTO accession deal with U.S. as "historic"

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    Russia's economics minister on Sunday hailed the signing of a final protocol on the country's accession to the World Trade Organization with the United States as a "historic step," one that would help it integrate into the global economy.

    HANOI, November 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's economics minister on Sunday hailed the signing of a final protocol on the country's accession to the World Trade Organization with the United States as a "historic step," one that would help it integrate into the global economy.

    German Gref and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab signed the agreement on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese capital, paving the way for Russia's entry into the world's largest trade body.

    "This is a historic, ultimate step, which heralds Russia's return onto the market track, to equal competition on the world market," Gref told reporters after the signing ceremony.

    He said Russia will make every effort to protect intellectual property rights, one of the major issues to have impeded the deal, along with restrictions on U.S. meat exports and on the access of American companies to the Russian banking and insurance sectors.

    "All our actions will be aimed at creating favorable conditions that would ensure maximum protection for copyright holders," he said.

    Russia has signed a binding blueprint for measures to improve copyright protection and to stop piracy and counterfeiting of foreign goods before it joins the WTO.

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