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Russia, USA sign protocol on WTO accession.

Russia, USA sign protocol on WTO accession. EconMin German Gref and US Trade Representative Susan Schwab signed a bilateral agreement on Russia ’s accession to the WTO during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit held in Hanoi . US president George Bush and Russian president Vladimir Putin were also present. Gref called the event a historic step, which marks Russia ’s return to the market track and equal competition on the world market. The negotiations lasted for 12 years. The bilateral deal needs now to be ratified by legislature branches in both countries. Besides, Russia needs to reach agreement with Moldova and Georgia . The latter’s representative informed that Georgia will not give its approval for Russia accession unless Russia fulfils trade agreements with Georgia and legalizes customs border points in Abkhazian and South Ossetian sectors. Particularly, Georgia wants cooperative control over those points from both, Russian and Georgian sides of the border. The two brake away regions operate with a strong diplomatic and financial support from Russia . To enjoy full access to WTO economies Russia needs to be granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status. US business groups are urging congress to move more rapidly to grant Russia the status.

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