US and Russia Work to Finalize Negotiations On WTO Entry

US - The United States and Russia expect to conclude shortly bilateral negotiations on market access issues related to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The two sides hope to sign a bilateral agreement next week at the APEC meetings in Hanoi.
calendar icon 13 November 2006
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"We have an agreement in principle and are finalizing the details. We are also holding consultations with the Congress and our cleared advisors. This agreement will mark an important step in Russia attaining membership in the WTO," said U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab.

"It is a clear indication of Russia’s efforts to participate fully in and benefit from the rules-based global trading system. We came close to completing our work in July, but needed more time to conclude a strong commercial agreement that will be of benefit to both our countries. Minister Gref and I hope to sign the agreement in Hanoi on the margins of the APEC meeting."


Russia has been negotiating with the United States and other WTO members the terms of its accession to the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), and then to the WTO, since 1994. To complete its accession bid, Russia must finalize all its bilateral market access agreements and then complete multilateral negotiations on a comprehensive Working Party Report and Protocol of Accession.

Over the course of the negotiations, the Administration has consulted closely with the Congress about America’s concerns and interests, most particularly Members and Staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, the IPR Caucus, and other interested Committees.

Congressional action is ultimately necessary to enable the United States to grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia. This will be necessary for U.S. businesses, farmers, ranchers and others to enjoy the benefits flowing from Russia’s membership in the WTO, once Russia completes the final multilateral phase of its accession negotiations.

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