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.
Oil market watchers are divided on the outcome of OPEC's meeting in the Austrian capital. Predictions range from a large production cut to revive prices, to a small reduction, or none at all
The proliferation of smugglers' routes into Bolivia shows how difficult it is to eradicate illegal mining without better coordination across frontiers.
Falling crude prices are fueled by slowing global growth and increased supply.
Ukraine's leading banks said most of their loans to Crimean individuals and businesses were now delinquent.
Deputy Energy Minister Jaime Himende said that "Mozambique has great hydroelectricity potential, and recently they have taken some bold steps to use renewable resources efficiently"
Obama, who hosted Modi in Washington in September, will in January become the first U.S. president to visit India twice, completing a remarkable warming in the relationship
The combined damage inflicted on Russia's economy by Western sanctions and falling oil prices totals about $140 billion.
PM Mahlab said that Egypt eyes sustainable growth to improve the living conditions of Egyptians, noting that the Egyptian economy is currently recovering.
The French economist calls for redistribution of global wealth, which he says is too concentrated in the hands of the few.
Bank cites high financing costs and financing difficulties as challenges that need to be addressed to sustain growth.
Smuggling is denying Tanzania some 80 percent of receipts accrued from the precious gemstone
The Africa initiative will create "one huge free-trade union" allowing foreign investors in Egypt to more easily reach 260 million consumers from South Africa to Ethiopia.
Budapest says the collapse of the rival Western-backed Nabucco project to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and stalled plans to build inter-connector pipelines within eastern Europe, have left it with no alternative.
In Russia, the idea of a Saudi-U.S. plot against Moscow has become common currency as the economy struggles under the effects of low oil prices and Western sanctions imposed
Lithuania's new LNG terminal represents an end to Russia's gas monopoly in Lithuania, says Lithuania's president
The minister said the militants considered the eastern Syrian cities "safe for them" and thus transferred wheat and barley in Nineveh "to preserve it".