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Australia welcomes Russia's WTO entry

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After 18 years of negotiations Russia has been welcomed into the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Trade Ministers will formally approve the accession agreement at the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva next month. "This is an exciting development for Russia, Australia and the global trading system," said Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson. The agreement has been welcomed by Australia and means the world’s 11th largest economy will soon join the other 153 members of the WTO. "Membership of the WTO is a commitment to play by a set of rules designed to make trade free and fair for all Members," said Emerson. "The WTO is a club countries want to join and no-one has ever left it." The accession of Russia into the WTO will guarantee improved market access for Australian exporters of agriculture, manufacturing and services, with Russia agreeing to lower some import tariffs as soon as their WTO membership becomes effective. The announcement of Russia’s accession comes after the proposal of a new pathway for the Doha Round by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The new pathway was proposed at the recent G20 Leaders’ Meeting in Cannes. Gillard and Emerson will seek further endorsement at APEC meetings in Honolulu this week.

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