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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nabiullina Says WTO Still a Goal

New Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina said Wednesday that she wanted to continue diversifying the economy and that membership in the WTO was essential to ensure future economic expansion.

"Our priority is to continue policies aimed at diversifying Russia's economy to ensure its stable and long-term growth," Nabiullina said in a statement.

President Vladimir Putin appointed Nabiullina on Monday to head the Economic Development and Trade Ministry. She replaced German Gref, who said making the country's economy less dependent on oil and gas sales and joining the World Trade Organization were among the nation's top priorities.

"We are striving to fully integrate the Russian economy into the global market and believe that joining the WTO is necessary to ensure future economic expansion," Nabiullina said.

Russia has been seeking to join the WTO for more than a decade. The economy will probably expand 7.3 percent this year, according to the Economic Development and Trade Ministry. The economy expanded 6.7 percent in 2006.

"Russia will uphold all the agreements it has already reached during the negotiations to join the WTO," said Nabiullina. She did not say when Russia would complete the talks.

Russia still needs to sign a two-nation agreement with Saudi Arabia and Georgia and a final agreement with the WTO as a whole before its membership can be endorsed.