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Russia Closer to WTO After EU Deal


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center, shakes hands with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, left, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso during an EU-Russia Summit at the EU Council building in Brussels, 07 Dec 2010

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center, shakes hands with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, left, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso during an EU-Russia Summit at the EU Council building in Brussels, 07 Dec 2010

The European Union has approved Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization, moving Moscow one step closer to membership in the trade body.

Russian Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina and EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht signed an agreement on Tuesday resolving outstanding bilateral issues that had prevented EU approval of Russia's entry bid.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the signing a "milestone" in the process. Russia, the largest economy outside the WTO and the EU's largest trading partner, applied for membership in the WTO in June 1993.

Moscow must still negotiate the final terms of its entry into the trade organization. But Barroso said that Russia becoming a WTO member in 2011 is now a "realistic perspective."

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