92-4 (Senate Vote No. 223, December 6, 2012)
365-43 (House Roll Call 608, November 16, 2012)
THANK YOU, CONGRESS, FOR APPROVING PNTR WITH RUSSIA
The Members of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade
The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade (“Coalition”), a broad-based group representing U.S. manufacturing, services and agricultural interests (please click here for a full list of Coalition Members), was led by the U.S.-Russia Business Council (www.usrbc.org) in conjunction with major D.C.-based business groups such as the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow. The Coalition was formed to ensure an agreement on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on strong, commercially meaningful terms and to ensure that U.S. firms and farmers can fully access those benefits and protect their interests in Russia, one of the world's largest and fastest growing economies in transition in recent years.
With a strong accession package in hand, the WTO Ministerial Conference formally invited Russia to become a WTO member in December 2011.
In early 2012, the Coalition ramped up its efforts to secure legislation to remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment and establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia to ensure that U.S. business could fully benefit from Russia’s WTO accession.
The Coalition's membership expanded to more than 500 entities during the course of the campaign. In July 2012, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved (26-0), without amendment, legislation establishing PNTR with Russia and the House Ways and Means Committee followed suit approving identical PNTR legislation by voice vote. This was an historic, bipartisan achievement.
Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) on August 22, 2012. Its membership in the WTO holds the promise for greater transparency, adherence to the rule of law and increased certainty for U.S. trade and investment there. As the world's 9th largest economy and with a growing middle class that is now almost a third of its population, Russia represents an attractive market for U.S. business seeking to maintain global competitiveness and sustain and create jobs in the United States.
After much hard work by Coalition members and strong collaboration with counterparts in the U.S. Congress and in the Obama Administration, on November 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment and establish PNTR with Russia by an overwhelming vote margin of 365-43. The U.S. Senate followed on December 6 with a resounding vote of 92-4. The bipartisan support this legislation garnered was historic, and it is no small part because Russia PNTR is good for U.S. jobs and the U.S. economy. Russia PNTR was simply the right thing to do.
On December 13, President Barak Obama signed the legislation into law, and on December 20, he issued a Presidential Proclamation to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Russia. On December 21, the United States and Russia both withdrew their notices of non-application of the WTO Agreement, enabling manufacturers, service providers, ranchers and farmers in the United States to take full advantage of the benefits and opportunities of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization.
Passage of Russia PNTR did not involve a single change to a U.S. tariff line or any market-opening measures by the United States. This legislation was about ensuring U.S. access to commitments Russia has made as a WTO member, and the U.S.' ability to enforce those commitments in the global rules-based trading system.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia ensures U.S. access to the Russian marketplace and important new WTO rights, including stronger intellectual property protections, greater transparency, and recourse to the WTO's dispute settlement procedures if Russia fails to meet its commitments. This legislation places U.S. business on an equal footing in securing new sales and contracts, and it creates greater business certainty for U.S. companies seeking to expand in the Russian market.
PNTR is for US.