Russia's 18-year wait for WTO membership nearing an end
Published 31/10/2011 | 05:00
Russia expects to join the World Trade Organisation by the end of the year after an 18-year wait.
Its entry to the 153-member trade body had been held up by objections from Georgia, the former Soviet republic with which Russia has a tense relationship.
The European Union gave its blessing last week for Russia to join the WTO.
A Swiss delegation flew to Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, last night after Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, met Swiss president Micheline Calmy-Rey yesterday outside Moscow.
"We expect that all issues will be co-ordinated within hours," Arkady Dvorkovich, chief economic aide to Mr Medvedev, said last night.
"There are no big issues remaining, but a number of issues need to be clarified."
Joining the WTO could boost Russia's $1.5 trillion economy by more than 3pc in the medium term, according to the World Bank.
The world's biggest energy producer is counting on WTO entry to lure foreign investment and reduce its reliance on energy exports, which account for 40pc of budget revenue.