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Russia ratifies agreement to join WTO

Members of Communist faction of parliament hold banners that read: "WTO is a Noose for Russia", left, and "Joining WTO is the way to the Precipice", at right, as they picket outside the parliament headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Russia's parliament is due to ratify an agreement for Russia to join the World Trade Organization in a move that will push Moscow to open up its economy. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's parliament has ratified an agreement to join the World Trade Organization.

The State Duma on Tuesday voted 238-208-1 to pass the bill.

Russia is the largest economy outside the global trade organization. It has spent 18 years trying to negotiate its entry into the body. But thousands of Russian businesses are wary that the low import duties and caps on subsidies that are a condition of joining the WTO will hurt their businesses

Activists including several dozen Communist Party deputies staged a protest outside the Duma Tuesday morning to protest Russia's accession.