Russia Joins WTO, NFTC Calls on Congress to Pass PNTR Legislation As Soon as Possible in September

Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Washington, D.C. – With Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) today, the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) called on Congress to pass permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) legislation immediately upon returning to Washington following the August recess. The NFTC released the following statement.

“Now that Russia has acceded to the WTO, the United States has an opportunity to become a bigger economic player in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world – but only if Congress passes PNTR legislation,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “Congress must take action on PNTR legislation in September. If Congress does not act quickly, American companies, exporters and workers will be at a competitive disadvantage in the Russian market.”

“We are encouraged that a vote on PNTR legislation has been scheduled in the House, and we strongly urge House and Senate leaders to work together to ensure passage in both chambers as soon as possible in September. Granting permanent normal trade relations is not a favor to Russia, instead it is necessary step to help stimulate U.S. economic growth and job creation by expanding trade with the world’s ninth-largest economy. The U.S cannot afford to miss out on this opportunity,” said NFTC Vice President Dan O’Flaherty.

“As we have expressed before, the NFTC continues to have reservations about legislation that could jeopardize the benefits of Russia’s WTO accession or unnecessarily complicate U.S.-Russia relations, namely the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. However, the House version of the Act is preferable to the Senate version, as its scope is limited to Russia,” Reinsch concluded.