PNTR with Russia is U.S. Business’ Top Legislative Trade Priority for 2012
17 February 2012 PNTR with Russia is U.S. Business’ Top Legislative Trade Priority for 2012
Russia is the world’s 11th largest economy and U.S. manufacturers, service providers and farmers are benefitting from Russia’s growing demand for goods and services.
When Russia joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the coming months, it will improve its business climate, committing to intellectual property protection, eliminating non-tariff barriers, and liberalizing key sectors such as services.
The United States will not benefit from such market reforms – unless Congress passes legislation to graduate Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment and establishes Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR).
PNTR also gives the United States a powerful tool to ensure that Russia abides by those commitments through binding WTO dispute settlement.
What is Jackson-Vanik?
The Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974, a provision unique to the United States, was enacted to end the policy that prevented emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union.
The legislation has been successful with respect to Russia: in 1991, Russia terminated its exit fees on Jewish emigrants, and today Russian Jews freely emigrate. Since 1994, U.S. presidents of both parties have certified annually that Russia complies with Jackson-Vanik, and the United States maintains Normal Trade Relations (NTR) with Russia.
Now is the time for Congress to end this certification process and make this normal trading status permanent.
Why is Congressional Action Important?
If Congress fails to enact PNTR with Russia, U.S. industry will be on the sidelines of Russia’s market, at a disadvantage when competing for job-creating sales and contracts.