Russia becomes member of World Trade Organization

Russia became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization Wednesday, following nearly two decades of negotiations.

Russia was one of the world’s last major economies to join the Geneva-based institution, having previously expressed concerns about the potential influx of Western goods and services.

As part of its membership, Russia has agreed to lower import tariffs to less than 8 percent from a current average of around 10 percent.

As part of the agreement, Russia has also made commitments to open trade in several sectors, including the banking, automotive and insurance industries.

Some analysts expect this will be to the benefit of Russian consumers by making it cheaper for them to purchase imported products while allowing them to save more and invest back into the local economy.

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