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.
The euro reached $1.1388 Wednesday, the highest level since a year earlier.
The IMF warned that "significant policy uncertainties imply larger-than-usual" risks to the US outlook on either side, since spending cuts could lower growth, while tax cuts could provide stimulus and expand the economy.
Now the VNO-NCW is calling for the Dutch parliament to reverse a 2015 decision to introduce a cap of 20 percent of annual pay on the bonuses which can be paid out to top managers in the banking industry.
The state-owned energy trading firm Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas said it signed the deal with the Texas company Cheniere Energy.
Adding to the upward pressure for oil is the crisis in the Middle East, where a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar has fuelled concerns of possible conflict.
Bourses in both Paris and Frankfurt dipped after a report from data monitoring company IHS Markit showed Eurozone private sector business activity slowed sharply in June while staying in expansion mode.
Analysts said that while the downturn in the headline readings was disappointing, the economy continued to put in a strong performance.
Crude prices stabilised after diving more than two percent on Tuesday on increasing fears of a global supply glut, as continued production in the US and elsewhere offsets an OPEC output cut deal.
Move estimated to save company $1B in investment costs
However, most other regional markets struggled after Monday's healthy gains, despite being given a positive lead from Wall Street where the Dow and S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs.
The purchase in one fell swoop gives Amazon, which until now has operated almost entirely on the internet, a big presence in the brick-and-mortar world on Main Street, with more than 450 stores in the US, Canada and Britain.
"The Bank of Russia Board of Directors decided to cut the key rate to 9.00 percent per annum," the bank said in a statement. The cut follows a half-point decrease in late April.