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Russia joins WTO after 18 years of talks

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — Russia has joined the World Trade Organisation, a body that restricts import duties and subsidies to make international trade fair, after 18 years of negotiations.

Consumers in Russia are expected to benefit from the lower cost of imported goods, while some industrial sectors, like agriculture or car making, will lose state subsidies, exposing them to foreign competition.

The World Bank estimates WTO membership could increase Russia's GDP by 3.3 percent a year in the next three years.

Russia was formally admitted to the WTO today.

The talks took so long because of Russia's reluctance to drop industry subsidies and because the US has refused to scrap a law that denies Russia normal trading relations. Because that law remains, Russia will keep higher trade tariffs with the US than other countries.

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