March 19, 2013
Making the agreement were Alexey Likhachev, Russia’s deputy minister of economic development, and Michael Camuñez, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance. The two are co-coordinators for the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.
“Russia’s accession to the [World Trade Organization] creates significant opportunities for stronger bilateral cooperation between our countries,” Camuñez said. “As we work closely with Russia to implement its new obligations, we want to use this Working Group to promote active engagement, collaboration and coordination between our respective governments, taking into account the needs, concerns and priorities of the private sector, to better facilitate two-way trade and investment in a way that benefits both sides.”
U.S. foreign direct investment in Russia rose 17 percent in 2011, the latest year for which that data is available. Russia exported more than $29 billion of goods to the United States in 2012.
Russia’s August 2012 entry into the World Trade Organization and the establishment of permanent normal trade relations between the two countries in December have provided a more level playing field, which is widely expected to contribute to future market growth and increased bilateral trade, according to a March 18 press release from the Commerce Department.
The working group, which is chaired by the U.S. commerce secretary and the Russian minister of economic development, will focus its action plan on diversifying two-way trade, increasing economic growth in key industrial sectors, and reducing market-entry hurdles affecting small and medium enterprises, the Commerce Department said.