Obama hails Russia's move to join WTO

10th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama on Thursday welcomed Russia's imminent accession to the World Trade Organization, saying it would boost job creation at home and help to hold Moscow accountable.

Obama said a deal reached on Thursday, approving the terms and conditions for Russia's WTO membership, constituted a "significant day for US-Russia relations."

"Russia's membership in the WTO will generate more exports for American manufacturers and farmers, which in turn will support well-paying jobs in the United States," he said.

Russia's membership of the world trade body, which is expected to be formalized at a December 15-17 WTO summit in Geneva, would help "hold the Russian government accountable to a system of rules governing trade behavior, and provide the means to enforce those rules."

Moscow cleared its most significant hurdle for accession just Wednesday when it finally clinched a customs deal with Georgia, which was able to veto any accession bid by virtue of its membership to the trade body.

Russia applied to join the trade body in 1993 but talks dragged on and its brief war with Georgia in 2008 further delayed the bid.

No other country has had to barter so long before being granted entry. China was the previous record holder with 15 years of negotiations for membership.

Obama said US firms, particularly in audio-visual, telecommunications, financial services, computer and retail services sectors now stand to gain.

"From day one of its membership in the WTO, Russia will be required to comply with WTO rules on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights," he said in a nod to Congressional anger at IP theft.

© 2011 AFP

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