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Russia to Send 32-Member Permanent Mission to WTO

More than a year and a half after joining the World Trade Organization, Russia has decided the size of its permanent mission to promote the country's interests at the body's headquarters in Geneva.

The mission will be staffed by 27 representatives of the Economic Development Ministry and five specialists from the Foreign Ministry, according to a government directive published on the Cabinet's website Tuesday. No timeline for establishing the representative office was given.

Having a mission on the ground in Geneva is considered essential for a member country to be able to defend its interests within the WTO. Since joining the organization in 2012, Russia has been embroiled in a number of trade disputes, for example over its attempts to shelter its domestic car industry by forcing foreign manufacturers to pay tariffs not applied to local firms.

According to the directive, the mission will "participate in the development and execution of Russia's trade policy and represent the country in talks within the framework of the WTO aimed at achieving favorable economic conditions for the development of the Russian economy."

Beyond that, the mission will conduct research and analysis of WTO's activities, promote the development of trade and economic ties between Russia and other WTO members and fight Russia's corner in disputes arising within the bloc.

The mission's leader, Russia's permanent representative, will be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Cabinet.

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