11 Jul 2012

WTO entry ratified by Russia

8:51 am on 11 July 2012

Lawmakers in Russia have voted to ratify accession to the World Trade Organization, after 18 years of negotiating.

A vote in the lower house on Tuesday was carried by a majority of 30 votes. Nearly all opposition members voted against.

Russia will officially become the WTO's 156th member in 30 days.

Under a deal reached last December, Moscow is obliged to cut import tariffs and open key sectors of the economy to foreign investment.

Addressing the Duma, Economy Minister Andrei Belousov said that, although WTO entry carried risks, they would be outweighed by the benefits.

He said import tariffs will be reduced from an average 9.5% now to 6 % by 2015.

Russia's $US1.9 trillion economy is the world's ninth largest.