Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) led the Senate to pass a bill today boosting U.S. exports by establishing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. The legislation, which passed by a vote of 92-4, is expected to double American exports to Russia within five years and support thousands of jobs across every sector of the U.S. economy, including manufacturing, agriculture and services. The bill also helps fight human rights abuses in Russia and extends PNTR to Moldova.
Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August, and as part of the WTO accession process, it lowered tariffs and increased market access for foreign businesses. However, to this point, American businesses have been prevented from fully capitalizing on the new market access, because the U.S. has not yet extended PNTR status to Russia. Doing so will put American exporters on a level playing field with their competitors in Europe, China and among the more than 150 WTO member nations. Additionally, the benefits of passing PNTR will be one-sided: the U.S. is not required to make any market access or tariff concessions to Russia as part of establishing PNTR or with Russia’s WTO accession process. Instead, establishing PNTR would help to boost the U.S. economy and create jobs here at home, across every sector of the economy. The House of Representatives passed PNTR legislation last month.
Thursday December 6, 2012/ Senate Committee on Finance/ United States.