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AEM: Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia Will ’Level the Playing Field’

Wed July 25, 2012 - National Edition
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This August when Russia enters the World Trade Organization (WTO), all of Russia's trading partners will be able to immediately benefit except the United States, unless Congress immediately acts.
This August when Russia enters the World Trade Organization (WTO), all of Russia's trading partners will be able to immediately benefit except the United States, unless Congress immediately acts.

Members at the Senate Finance Committee hearing unanimously voted to pass a bill to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment and grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia. This legislation will now move to the Senate floor for full consideration.

This August when Russia enters the World Trade Organization (WTO), all of Russia’s trading partners will be able to immediately benefit except the United States, unless Congress immediately acts.

"We are pleased to see the Senate Finance Committee Members recognize the urgency of the situation and act swiftly to remove this barrier between the United States and Russia," Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater said.

"Russia is currently the world’s 9th largest economy, and U.S. equipment manufacturers largely depend on the ability to have the same opportunities to benefit from normal trade relations as other countries," Slater continued.

Currently, the U.S. agriculture and infrastructure sectors represent hundreds of millions of dollars in exports to Russia, but U.S. exporters pay tariffs applied at rates up to 25 percent.

"Leveling the playing field for U.S. businesses and workers will propel our economy and create more jobs at home. AEM will continue to work with Congress to see that this legislation is sent to the President’s desk for signature without further delay," Slater concluded.

Congress must first repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment and grant Russia PNTR in order for United States exporters to enjoy the same trade relations as other WTO countries. All other member states in the WTO will economically benefit by most-favored-nation status immediately upon Russia’s entry this August. The 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment was created in response to the Soviet Union preventing certain citizens from emigrating. Since 1994 and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been found to be in full compliance with the Jackson-Vanik freedom-of-emigration criteria.

Russia is considered one of the world’s fastest growing economies - expected to see annual average real growth of four percent from 2011 to 2015. U.S. machinery exports to Russia averaged $1.3 billion and accounted for 11 percent of total U.S. industrial goods exports from 2008 to 2010.