World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia's highest court ruled on Monday that a hard-won deal to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) that will oblige Moscow to cut import tariffs and open up key sectors in its economy to foreign investment was in line with the constitution.
The ruling, issued by the Constitutional Court in a unanimous decision from its headquarters in St Petersburg, clears the way for a final parliamentary vote to ratify entry into the 155-member global trade rules club.
That vote will take place on Tuesday with a majority of lawmakers expected to rubber-stamp accession. The original deal was clinched last December after 18 years of often-difficult talks.
Russia, whose $1.9 trillion economy is the largest outside the WTO, would become a full member 30 days after ratification.
The court's ruling quashed a case brought by lawmakers from the opposition Communist and Just Russia parties who had unsuccessfully argued that the ratification procedure and parts of the accession deal were unconstitutional.
Recently elected for a third presidential term, President Vladimir Putin had long appeared ambivalent over WTO entry but warmed to the process after Russia's economy was hit hard by the global recession of 2008-09.
According to a World Bank study, the growth uplift that Russia could expect from joining the WTO could be 3.3 percent over the medium term and as much as 11 percent in the long run.
Under the deal, Russia would gradually cut average import tariffs to 7.8 percent from 10 percent and open up investment in sectors such as telecommunications, while shielding its banking sector from overall foreign control.
Russia managed to protect hefty subsidies to promote its domestic auto industry and negotiated a long transitional period for reducing state aid to farmers.
A fifth payment of $450 million was due on April 15, contingent on Iran having diluted half of its most sensitive stockpile of nuclear materials
The year-on-year inflation rate in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5 percent in March against 0.7 percent in February, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said.
Pushed by higher food and shelter costs, the consumer price index rose in March.
Country of origin labels are currently voluntary in the European Union and many of the bloc's governments want to keep it that way
While reverse flows would help cushion the effects of a Russian export cut during mild-demand summer months, analysts say they would not be sufficient in winter.
The tanker, Aegean Dignity, is due to take its load to Italy, the NOC quoted an oil official as saying in a statement on its website
TAP aims at enhancing the security of natural gas supply as well as diversification of gas supplies for the European markets.
Charlie Shrem, 24, was arrested in January and stepped down as vice president of the Bitcoin Foundation, a well-known trade group, soon after.
The religious endowments minister has ordered mosques not to run air conditioners before May 15 and after that date to use air conditioning only during prayer time
Most foreign workers in the construction and oil industries come from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, while many domestic workers are from Indonesia and the Philippines
Lukoil has been decreasing its stake in Caspian Investment Resources Ltd, to share the costs at the projects, which require extensive financing.
Israel, which occupied the West Bank in a 1967 war, controls the airwaves of the territory, and Palestinian firms' lack of 3G is a constraint on its technology sector while Israel's soars
The hryvnia has lost about 38 percent of its value against the dollar since the beginning of the year due to the conflict with Russia.
The Austrian justice ministry said "numerous" persons were being investigated over money-laundering and other crimes, including former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his son Oleksii.
Ali Majedi, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs and trade, said Moscow and Tehran would struggle to agree such a deal.