Russia in its bid to join WTO

Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign an agreement with Japan on his nation's joining the World Trade Organization when he visits Japan next week.

Putin will visit Japan Nov. 20 and meet with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi the next day as the two governments have virtually reached accord on Japan approving Russia's bid for membership.

The Japanese government plans to notify the WTO office within the month of the content of the agreement.

The agreement clearly specifies measures to significantly cut current tariffs on nearly 9,000 items, including automobiles, automobile parts and farm produce.

The two governments also will ease entry conditions for foreign capital to make it easier for financial institutions and international telephone service providers to do business in both nations.

Russia hopes to join the WTO in the first half of next year.

Trade between Japan and Russia was only $8.85 billion in 2004, about one-twentieth of trade between Japan and the United States or China, UPI reports.


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