WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the eve of Russia's entry into the WTO, the U.S.-Russia Business Council (www.usrbc.org) and the broad-based business coalition it leads, the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade (www.usrussiatrade.org/), welcomed the long-awaited achievement, but underlined that U.S. business will be at a disadvantage in the Russian market until the Congress passes legislation enacting Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia.
"Russia's WTO entry is a significant milestone in that country's economic evolution, as Russia will be embracing market liberalizations and reforms it agreed to in negotiations in which the United States played a significant role," said USRBC President and CEO Ed Verona. "Ironically, without PNTR in place, our foreign competitors are better positioned than U.S. business is to secure contracts that will arise as Russia implements market reforms and modernizes its economy. The clock is ticking against us. However, Congress can rectify this missed opportunity with passage of PNTR legislation when it returns in September."
The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade's Executive Director, Randi Levinas, echoed these sentiments. "Congress and the Administration must not waste time during the window of opportunity available in September to work together to approve PNTR. We are pleased with recent indications from House leadership that this legislation will be on the floor in September. Russia is an attractive $400 billion import market that spans nine time zones with a growing middle class. To update its infrastructure and industrial base, Russia has the choice to turn to other WTO members or it can turn to the United States. We are urging a strong bipartisan vote on Russia PNTR to reflect the example set by the Ways and Means and Finance Committees last month. PNTR is a vote for the U.S. economy and U.S. jobs."
The PNTR legislation is expected to be paired on the floor with human rights legislation. The USRBC and the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade have a neutral position on the human rights legislation under consideration.
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. For more information, visit the USRBC online at: www.usrbc.org.
The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade is a broad-based group of approximately 150 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. For more information, please visit the Coalition's website at www.usrussiatrade.org.
SOURCE U.S.-Russia Business Council and Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade