WTO ministers meet, set to accept new member Russia
Trade ministers started their biennial meeting at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Thursday in Geneva, where the focus was on the planned accession of Russia as a new member, reported dpa.
The meeting was overshadowed by the stalled Doha talks on lowering tariffs and subsidies. Diplomats said before the conference that a breakthrough was not expected.
Conference chairman, Nigerian Trade Minister Olusegun Aganga, appealed to WTO member countries to step up efforts to liberalize global trade as a way for overcoming the economic crisis.
The highlight of the conference was scheduled for Friday, when Russia was set to be accepted as a WTO member after years of protracted negotiations.
While Western investors are looking forward to access to more than 140 million Russian consumers, Russians stand to profit from cheaper goods once tariffs fall.
Shortly before the conference started, 42 developed countries agreed to further lower trade barriers on public procurement, creating business opportunities worth 100 billion dollars a year, WTO chief Pascal Lamy said.