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Russia Becomes 156th Member Of World Trade Organization

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy (right) gestures after Russia's accession as a WTO member was approved in Geneva last December.
Russia has officially become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after years of negotiations.

With its formal accession, Russia becomes the 156th country to join the body that sets global trade rules and enforces trade agreements.

Until now, Russia was the largest economy in the world that was a not a WTO member. Russia’s membership became official 30 days after the move was formally supported by both chambers of parliament and the government.

Despite Moscow's membership, WTO rules will not yet apply to Russia's trade ties with the United States, the world’s biggest economy, with whom a bilateral agreement will remain in force.

The U.S. continues to keep in place the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which was introduced to use trade barriers to pressure the Soviet Union over human rights issues.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax