President Obama spoke with Russian President Medvedev today to congratulate him on the World Trade Organization’s decision to extend a formal invitation to Russia to join the WTO. The Presidents hailed this achievement as yet another result of the reset in bilateral relations, which will benefit both the United States and Russia. Russia’s membership in the WTO will lower tariffs, improve access to Russia’s services markets, hold the Russian government accountable to a system of rules governing trade behavior, and provide the means to enforce those rules. Russia’s membership in the WTO will generate more export opportunities for American manufacturers and farmers, which in turn will support well-paying jobs in the United States. President Obama told President Medvedev that the Administration is committed to working with Congress to end the application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to Russia in order to ensure that American firms and American exporters will enjoy the same benefits of Russian WTO membership as their international competitors.
The two presidents also discussed the recent elections and subsequent demonstrations in Russia. President Obama raised the reports of flaws in the way the elections were conducted, and welcomed President Medvedev’s commitment to investigate these allegations. President Obama also noted the peaceful demonstrations held throughout Russia, and praised how Russian government authorities enabled the permissive conditions that allowed these demonstrations to occur peacefully and lawfully. President Obama noted how this expression of civil society is consistent with the modernizing Russia that President Medvev has sought to foster over the last four years. The two presidents said they looked forward to meeting next at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea in March 2012.