For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 13, 2001
Russian WTO Accession Fact Sheet
The Unites States strongly supports Russia's goal of World Trade Organization (WTO) accession, and is committed to helping accelerate the accession process at a pace acceptable to Russia. While only one of many WTO Members actively negotiating with Russia on its accession, the United States has taken the lead in bilateral work to support the multilateral negotiations, and has provided focused technical assistance.
This year, the United States has had frequent high-level bilateral contact with Russia on its WTO accession, including a September trip to Moscow by United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. Currently, our bilateral work is proceeding according to a mutually-agreed action plan of meetings and technical work, including another planned meeting between Ambassador Zoellick and Russian Minister of Trade and Economics German Gref prior to the end of this year, to take stock of bilateral progress in the accession.
In order to accede to the WTO, Russia must negotiate a "protocol package" of commitments with WTO Members that require reform of its trade regime. This package has four elements:
- A Working Party report and Protocol
describing how the applicant is meeting WTO obligations and enforcing
- Commitments to lock in market access terms for goods;
- Commitments to specify how foreigner may provide services;
- Commitments to lock in agricultural domestic support and export subsidies.
As a next step forward, the United States and other WTO Members will begin working with Russia on a first draft of the Working Party report in the first quarter of 2002. Russia has articulated its plan to submit all necessary draft WTO legislation to the Duma before the end of 2001, or in early 2002. The pace of progress forward will be largely determined by Russia's action to adopt WTO rules and make commercially meaningful market access commitments. The United States and Russian WTO teams will meet early in 2002 to continue bilateral negotiations.
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