Expatica news

EU finalises ‘breakthrough’ deal enabling Russia’s WTO entry

The EU and Russia on Tuesday finalised a “milestone” deal enabling Russia’s accession to the WTO world trade body, probably next year, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.

Barroso said Moscow’s accession in 2011 to the Geneva-based body was “realistic.” Russia is the last major world power still outside the World Trade Organization.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev flew into the European Union capital for a summit with Barroso and EU President Herman Van Rompuy largely aimed at notching up progress on Moscow’s long-stalled bid to join the body.

“We have achieved a breakthrough in Russia’s WTO accesion on which the commission has been working very hard,” Barroso said ahead of the summit talks.

“This is really a milestone. Our difficult bilateral issues are resolved. We signed a memorandum of understanding to this end today.”

“Russia becoming a WTO member in 2011 is a realistic prospective.”

Moscow in October won US backing for accession to the WTO and is looking for membership in 2011 after complaining the country has negotiated longer than anyone, after 17 years.