After 18 years of negotiations Russia is member of World Trade Organization
President Vladimir Putin signed the bill ratifying Russia’s entry to the World Trade Organisation after 18 years of often acrimonious negotiations, the Kremlin press office said.
Economists have long argued that Russia needed to join the WTO as it was the only major economy outside the body and the government hopes accession will stimulate growth.
The measure making Russia the 156th WTO member will become law within 30 days, after the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved it on July 10 and the upper house, the Federation Council, last week.
But the membership has also been controversial, with some medium-sized firms expressing concern they will be put out of business by being unable to compete against imports made cheaper by a reduction in customs tariffs.
The reduction of the tariffs was a key condition for Russia entering the WTO and they will fall from a current average level of 9.5% to 7.4% in 2013, 6.9% in 2014 and 6.0% in 2015.
According to the World Bank, WTO entry will bring a boost worth 3.3% of Russian GDP — or 49bn dollars — in the first three years after joining. Over 10 years, the gain will be worth 11% of GDP, it says.