Russia formally notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) on July 23 that it had ratified its membership agreement, meaning Russia will become the 156th member of the WTO on August 22.  Russian President Vladimir Putin signed his country’s accession to the WTO into law on July 21, and a Russian diplomat handed the papers to an official at the WTO in Geneva on Monday, completing an 18-year campaign to join the club.

With respect to congressional action on permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), legislation was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on July 18 and by the House Ways and Means Committee  on July 26.  Provisions designed to address concerns about human rights violations in Russia, which were added to the Senate bill before the Finance Committee passed it, are expected to be grafted into the House bill before a floor vote. The full House could take up the bill the week of July 30 and supporters, including the White House, will likely urge the Senate to follow suit before Congress leaves for its month-long recess on August 3.