WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade applauded today's historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives (365-43) to remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment and to establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia. The Coalition is a broad-based group of manufacturers, service providers and farmers that has led the business community's outreach to the Capitol Hill on Russia PNTR.
The legislation garnered the support of 227 Republicans and 138 Democrats, underscoring the overwhelming bipartisan support for the measure.
"The House has spoken loudly and clearly," said the Coalition's Executive Director Randi Levinas. "We applaud legislators on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill in such strong numbers. Passage of Russia PNTR is critical to U.S. business building upon their commercial successes in Russia and defending their interests in this market of 142 million consumers, nearly 1/3 or more of whom are middle class."
Russia is the world's 9th largest economy with a GDP of nearly $2 trillion. U.S. exports account for only 4% of the country's $400 billion import market of goods, yet Europe accounts for nearly 40% of Russia's imports and Asia accounts for approximately 20%.
"Now it is the Senate's turn to take up this bill and move it quickly to the President's desk. U.S. business cannot afford to be sitting on the sidelines while our foreign competitors strengthen their market positions in Russia," said Levinas. "U.S. engagement in the Russian market offers not only commercial opportunities for our exporters, but also opportunities to share our values, transparent way of doing business, and good governance practices."
U.S. goods exports to Russia reached an all-time high for the first three quarters of 2012 – growing to nearly $7.5 billion. This represents a 25% increase over 2011 levels. At this rate, U.S. goods exports alone for 2012 could reach $10 billion. (For full year 2011, U.S. goods and services exports to Russia totaled $11.3 billion.) With PNTR in place, experts have estimated that U.S. exports to Russia could double within 5 years.
The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade is a broad-based group of U.S. corporations, trade associations and small businesses actively seeking to increase U.S. exports and jobs with increased trade with Russia. The Coalition is committed to ensuring the enactment of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia in order to preserve the competitiveness of U.S. firms, farmers and workers in the Russian market. The Coalition is housed at the U.S.-Russia Business Council (www.usrbc.org) which serves as the Secretariat for the Coalition. For more information, please visit the Coalition's website at www.usrussiatrade.org.
SOURCE Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade