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Normal relations with Russia to benefit American companies, NAM says

August 23, 2012, 5:49 UTC+3

Russia joined the WTO on August 22, becoming its 156 member

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WASHINGTON, August 23 (Itar-Tass) —— National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse urged the U.S. Congress to pass as soon as possible the bill that will give Russia the status of normal trade partner.

“Manufacturers need Congress to pass legislation granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia to prevent us from missing out on new export opportunities in the growing Russian market. U.S. goods accounted for only 4 percent of the 310 billion U.S. dollars of Russian imports in 2011. There is clearly a tremendous opportunity to increase exports, which will help create jobs and fuel our economic growth,” Newhouse said in a statement on Wednesday, August 22.

“With the unemployment rate at 8.3 percent and the manufacturing sector slowing down, we have to do more to reach new markets and take full advantage of trade opportunities. Congress must act soon or else we risk being left on the sidelines, missing another opportunity to grow our exports,” he said.

Russia joined the WTO on August 22, becoming its 156 member.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said in testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance in June that the permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) “is not a gift to Russia. It is a smart strategic investment in one of the world’s fastest growing markets for U.S. goods and services. A vote to extend PNTR will be a vote to create and sustain jobs in America. When Russia joins the WTO later this summer, it will be required -- for the first time -- to establish predictable tariff rates, ensure transparency in enactment of laws, and adhere to an enforceable mechanism for resolving disputes. If we extend PNTR to Russia, we will be able to use WTO’s tools to hold it accountable for meeting these obligations. Until then, Russia’s markets will open, our competitors will benefit, but American companies will be disadvantaged.”

As President Barack Obama has said, Russia’s accession to the WTO “can open up trade and commerce between our two countries that can create jobs and economic growth for both Russians and Americans.” To ensure that U.S. companies and workers can take full advantage of Russia’s WTO membership, the Obama Administration is dedicated to working with the Congress to enact legislation to terminate the application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and authorise the President to extend permanent normal trade relations to Russia.

According to the Department of State Russia’s implementation of established, enforceable, multilateral trade rules can help further expand U.S.-Russia trade. In addition to strengthening both our economies, a stronger U.S.-Russia trade relationship can help improve cooperation on political and security issues.

In order for U.S. businesses and workers to benefit fully from the trade-liberalising commitments Russia has made as part of its WTO accession, the U.S. Congress must enact legislation ending application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to Russia. President Obama reiterated to President Putin his commitment to working with Congress to terminate the application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and to authorise the extension of PNTR to Russia. This step will ensure that America’s manufacturers, farmers, and other exporters are not placed at a disadvantage relative to their foreign competitors in Russia’s growing market.

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