Yet all things must come to pass. Tonight, a night to end all nights in the history of trade negotiations, Russia joins the WTO:
Russia is finally set to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday at a ceremony in Switzerland, after 18 years negotiating its membership. The Swiss brokered a deal between Russia and Georgia earlier this year that removed the last obstacle to Russia's accession. Georgia had tried to block Russia's WTO entry since the two countries fought a short war in 2008. Russia is by far the biggest economy yet to join the global trade body...For the record, only Algeria's accession process outdoes Russia's in terms of being drawn out:
The deal with Georgia hinged on international monitoring of trade along the mutual borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The two provinces have broken away from Georgia and are recognised as independent states by Russia. The formal signing ceremony has been added onto the end of a summit on Thursday between President Dmitry Medvedev and European Union officials in Brussels.
Russia’s 18-year path to the WTO was almost record-slow, with only Algeria’s negotiations taking longer at the moment. It was also the world’s largest non-member economy. The hurdle was caused by the principle of consensus the organization uses, which means each member can veto its enlargement.So I suppose congratulations are obligatory all around to Russia, Georgia, Switzerland (brokers of the trade peace deal) and the WTO. The world's 12th largest trading nation will shortly be on board the multilateral institution that claims in its name to concern itself with world trade. May trade help bring peace on Earth and better shopping opportunities to all mankind. This is the Christmas season, after all.