WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade, the business community effort led by the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) to keep U.S. goods and services competitive in the Russian market, applauded news last week that the Working Party on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) approved the terms of Russia's WTO membership. The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade, which comprises more than 70 trade associations and corporations, has pushed for a strong, commercially meaningful deal on Russia's accession and seeks to educate Members of Congress and their staffs about the importance of the Russian market to U.S. businesses, farmers and workers.
"This historic agreement represents a significant step forward in opening Russia's market to U.S. goods and services," commented USRBC President and CEO Edward Verona. "The transparency and predictability that WTO membership will require of Russia is a positive development for the global trading system. We commend the negotiators for their tremendous efforts, and we look forward to reviewing the details of this agreement and working with our partners in the business community, the Administration and the Congress to keep U.S. firms and farmers competitive with - and hopefully one step ahead of - their foreign competitors in the Russian market. That will only be possible once Congress passes legislation to graduate Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment and grants Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia."
After the approval of the accession package by the WTO Ministerial Conference on December 15-17 in Geneva, Russia's Duma will then need to ratify the package, and 30 days after notifying the WTO of its internal approval, Russia will become a WTO member. In order to avoid putting U.S. businesses at a disadvantage to their competitors in Russia, Congress must pass PNTR before Russia becomes a member of the WTO.
"The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade brings together a strong cross-section of the U.S. private sector," noted Randi Levinas, Executive Director of the Coalition. "U.S. exports to Russia in 2011 are nearing the historic levels of 2008, and we see significant opportunities for additional growth in the long-term. PNTR is not a gift to Russia. It's about locking in Russia's WTO commitments for U.S. firms and farmers in a timely fashion so that U.S. exports to Russia of transportation equipment, machinery, computer and electronic components, value-added agricultural goods, and services can continue to grow in this dynamic, sophisticated market."
The U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) represents the interests of its 250 U.S. and Russian member companies, providing business development and government relations support in both Moscow and Washington. The USRBC contributes to the stability and development of a free market in Russia and supports Russia's integration into the global economy. It also serves as the Secretariat for the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade (www.usrussiatrade.org). For more information, visit the USRBC online at: www.usrbc.org.
SOURCE U.S.-Russia Business Council