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U.S. welcomes Russia's acceptance of WTO terms

(Xinhua)

15:33, July 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government welcomed the news that Russia accepted the terms for its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said on Monday.

"Russia is the sixth largest economy in the world, and today's action marks a significant point in the evolution of the WTO and the global trading system," said Kirk.

He also urged the U.S. Congress to work on legislation regarding permanent normal trade relations for Russia so that American businesses can have access to the same benefits from Russia as their foreign rivals would have.

Russia will become the 156th WTO member on Aug. 22 after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a protocol ratifying the country's accession to the WTO.

Russia is one of very few countries that still do not have normal trade status with the United States, and only countries that have permanent normal trade relations can take advantage of the lower trade barriers that come with WTO membership.

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee on July 18 advanced a measure to normalize trade relations with Russia. The panel's chairman Max Baucus said U.S. exports to Russia could double in five years from the current 9 billion dollars a year if trade relations were normalized.

However, U.S. senators insisted on human rights sanctions in the bill, which may provoke deep anger in Moscow at a time when President Obama had been seeking consensus with Putin in resolving the issue in Syria.

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