Obama affirms U.S. support of Russia’s WTO bid

WTO...

U.S. President Barack Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he was committed to support Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Obama and Medvedev spoke by phone on Thursday to discuss a wide range of issues in U.S.-Russia relations.

President Obama affirmed his support for Russia’s accession into the WTO this year and also affirmed his commitment to work with the U.S. Congress to terminate the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia and establish Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with Russia,” the White House said in a statement.

Russia has been in membership talks with the 153-nation WTO for 17 years and remains the only major economy still outside the organization. It is expecting to join the “global trade club” by the end of this year.

Another important issue on the bilateral economic agenda is the long-standing Jackson-Vanik Amendment on restricting trade with the Soviet Union, which the U.S. Congress had adopted in 1974 to pressure the USSR into allowing emigration.

The controversial amendment is still applied to Russia, and has proved a key barrier for the country’s entry to the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. Congress may terminate the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia as early as this spring.

WASHINGTON, March 25 (RIA Novosti)

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