U.S. and Russian CEOs Meet with President Medvedev to Support Russia's WTO Accession

Jun 17, 2011, 11:05 ET from U.S.-Russia Business Council

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) Board Members, led by USRBC Chairman Klaus Kleinfeld of Alcoa, met today with President Medvedev in St. Petersburg at The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to present him with a letter voicing their full support for the Russian Federation's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) upon the conclusion of a commercially viable agreement and the approval of that agreement by the Russian government.

The letter was signed by 35 chief executive officers of leading Russian companies and U.S. corporations with a significant presence in the Russian market: Alcoa, Alfa Bank, Alfa Group, Boeing, Caterpillar, Chevron, Cisco, Citi, Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips, Deere, Dow Chemical, Ernst & Young, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Intel, International Paper, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Medtronic, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Pfizer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Procter & Gamble, Renova Group, RUSNANO, Sberbank, Severstal, TMK, Troika Dialog, United Technologies Corporation, Visa, Volga-Dnepr Group, VTB Bank.

The CEOs assured President Medvedev of their firm belief that WTO membership will significantly improve Russia's position as a key, rapidly growing, member of the global economy.  "Membership in the WTO will fully integrate Russia into the modern global trading system and provide confidence to foreign and domestic investors that Russia will adhere to the rules and norms of the world's largest trade organization.  It will also ensure Russia's access to WTO dispute resolution procedures previously unavailable to it," said Ed Verona, President and CEO of the U.S.-Russia Business Council.

"Besides improving Russia's position in the global economy, WTO membership will also expand trade and investment ties with the United States," said Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO of Alcoa and Chairman of the USRBC Board.  "Accession will send a strong signal to the business community that Russia is committed to reforming and modernizing its economy.  This will in turn attract the foreign investment, technology and talent that Russia needs to accelerate sustainable economic growth over the long term," he added.

The CEOs believe that Russia's membership in the WTO will create conditions that could serve as the catalyst for a more competitive and dynamic marketplace, which will both improve Russia's export capacity and provide substantial benefits for Russian consumers.  In the long-term, these benefits will ultimately yield higher rates of economic growth and increased prosperity for the Russian people.

During their meeting with President Medvedev, business leaders stressed their willingness and readiness to work with the Russian Government in pursuit of a strong final agreement on Russia's WTO accession.

U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC)
The U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) represents the interests of its 250 U.S. and Russian member companies, providing business development and government relations support in both Moscow and Washington.  The USRBC contributes to the stability and development of a free market in Russia and supports Russia's integration into the global economy.  It also serves as the Secretariat for the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade (www.usrussiatrade.org).  For more information, visit the USRBC online at: www.usrbc.org.  

SOURCE U.S.-Russia Business Council