Representatives from the United States and Russia reached an agreement in principle to clear the way for Russia to join the World Trade Organization.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab confirmed that final details are being negotiated with the hope of signing the agreement this week in Hanoi during the meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

“This agreement will mark an important step in Russia attaining membership in the WTO,” said Schwab. “It is a clear indication of Russia’s efforts to participate fully in and benefit from the rules-based global trading system.”

Russia must now complete multilateral negotiations on a comprehensive working party report and protocol of accession, which is likely to take more than a year to complete. The United States Congress must also approve legislation granting Russia permanent normal trade relations status.

Russia imports nearly $1 billion of U.S. agricultural products and is the largest market for U.S. poultry exports. John Reddington, American Meat Institute vice president for international trade, said that AMI will continue to push to secure an overall favorable agreement that provides for fair trade provisions for U.S. beef, pork and poultry.

Source: American Meat Institute