WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Russia Business Council (USRBC) hailed today's overwhelming vote of 365-43 in the U.S. House of Representatives to remove Russia from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik amendment and to establish U.S. Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia as a crucial advancement in U.S.-Russia commercial relations.
Republican and Democratic Members in the House threw their support in large numbers behind the legislation that places businesses one step closer to full access to the market-opening liberalizations Russia agreed to as it joined the World Trade Organization earlier this year. The bill must now be passed by the U.S. Senate.
"We congratulate the House of Representatives on the passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Russia," said Chairman of USRBC and Chairman and CEO of Alcoa, Klaus Kleinfeld. "This will ensure that U.S. companies and their workers have a level playing field when competing for growing opportunities in the Russian market. We urge the Senate to act quickly so that the President can sign this bill into law as soon as possible," said Kleinfeld.
It has been 86 days since Russia entered the WTO, and U.S. manufacturers, service providers, farmers and ranchers need PNTR in place to tap fully into the opportunities Russia's WTO commitments offer. Currently, U.S. competitors can access the full breadth of new rules Russia must abide by – but not U.S. firms. Also, without PNTR, U.S. companies have no recourse to redress any WTO compliance failures by Russia.
"The U.S.-Russia Business Council has played a central role in the effort to secure Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for the U.S. business community," said Edward Verona, President of the USRBC. He added, "Our companies see opportunity in the world's 9th largest market from sectors spanning infrastructure to consumer goods. As the leader of the business community's Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade, USRBC is pleased to see that legislators recognize that PNTR is not a reward to Russia, but rather benefits only U.S. manufacturers, service providers and farmers. Today's vote underscores that this is a good deal for U.S. jobs and the U.S. economy."
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. Learn more at www.usrbc.org and www.usrussiatrade.org.
SOURCE U.S.-Russia Business Council