17 Dec 2011

Russia now member of WTO

7:48 am on 17 December 2011

Russia is now officially a member of the World Trade Organisation - 18 years after negotiations began.

A formal ceremony took place in Geneva on Friday to mark the accession.

The BBC reports Russia is the last member of the Group of 20 major economies to join, after China gained membership in 2001.

The WTO has 153 members. It provides a forum for international trade liberalisation agreements, which it polices, deciding when rules have been breached and when retaliatory trade sanctions can be imposed.