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WTO membership for Russia to benefit industry: AIA


WASHINGTON--The American Insurance Assn. is hailing an agreement in principle between the United States and Russia that would bring Russia into the World Trade Organization as a step toward opening the Russian market to foreign insurers.

The two nations expect to sign a bilateral agreement next week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced Friday.

In a statement on the agreement released Friday, David Snyder, the Washington-based AIA's vp and assistant general counsel, called the agreement in principal "much better" than the initial positions taken by Russia in regard to insurance.

"It should provide mutual benefits for Russia and AIA's members," said Mr. Snyder. "We have long desired an agreement on insurance because it will help Russia develop economically and democratically," he added.

"Thanks to the U.S. government's efforts, Russia has committed to doing much more on insurance than it had in negotiations with other WTO members," he said.