Russia joins WTO after 18 years of talks

Associated Press
Vendors wait for customers at a Moscow market, Russia, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012.On Wednesday Russia joins the World Trade Organization, 19 years after it first began negotiating entry into the group, which restricts import duties and subsidies in an attempt to create a truly level playing field for international trade. While consumers here are expected to benefit from the lower cost of imported goods, some worry that struggling industries long coddled by state subsidies, like agriculture  and the automobile industry, would suffer from foreign competition. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has joined the World Trade Organization, a body which 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 carmaking, 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 on Wednesday.

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

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