U.S. and Russia Settle Trade Disputes

Russia solved a longstanding obstacle by backing off disputes about the safety of U.S. meat imports, moving Russia closer to joining WTO.

After 12 years, Russia has finally succeeded in striking a trade agreement with the U.S. The deal will move Russia closer to WTO membership.

A key issue in the dispute was a dispute between the two countries dealing with the safety of U.S. meat exports. Russia had insisted upon conducting its own review of the safety and health standards of U.S. meat exporters, but according to the office of U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, the agreement removes the obstacles to U.S. meat exports.

Russia also must cut tariffs on many agricultural and manufactured goods, according to Schwab's office. The agreement calls for Russia to lower its industrial tariff to an 8% average.

"We have an agreement in principle and are finalizing the details," U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in a statement. She said the deal "will mark an important step in Russia attaining membership of the WTO."

The U.S.-Russia Business Council, a trade association representing 300 U.S. and Russian corporations, has voiced support for the agreement.

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