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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swiss, Russians Sign Off on Trade Pact

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Switzerland and Russia signed an agreement on market access for goods and services Friday, marking another step in Moscow's progress toward joining the World Trade Organization.

The agreement concludes bilateral trade negotiations between the two countries. It was signed by Swiss Economy Minister Joseph Deiss and Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

"This agreement also constitutes an important step toward the accession, in the near future, of the Russian Federation to the WTO," the Swiss Economy Ministry said in a statement.

Russia has been negotiating to join the 149-member body since 1994. It has had to embark on a major set of legislative reforms to fall in line with WTO rules, including producing a new customs code, and has set a new target date of spring this year for joining.

Russia still has to reach agreements with the United States, Colombia and Australia.