Asia-Pacific leaders have backed a bid by Russia and Vietnam to enter the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum have agreed “to support efforts to conclude promptly the accession of” the two Apec members.
The announcement has been made in a joint statement released at the end of the 21-member summit in Santiago, Chile.
Russia applied to join the WTO about 10 years ago.
The conditions of its bid have to be cleared with individual trading partners before it can be considered by the global trade body as a whole.
Russian President Vladamir Putin says the country is ready to join the global trade watchdog but adds that membership should be approved “under normal conditions, without discrimination”.
Putin says US President George W Bush personally conveyed to him the US’s support for Russia’s bid.
“I discussed it with the American President, who promised me his support,” Putin said. “I hope these declarations of support will be reflected in action.”