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Normal Trade Relations with Russia Established

13 June 2012, at 8:26am

US - Legislation has been introduced to establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia.

Senator Max Baucus, along with Senators John Thune, John Kerry and John McCain, unveiled legislation this week that will allow US agriculture to participate in Russia’s upcoming World Trade Organisation membership.

“Russia PNTR is a critical step towards ensuring the US benefits from Russia’s accession to the WTO and remains competitive in that market,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

“US farmers will have more certain and predictable market access as a result of Russia’s commitment not to raise tariffs on any products above the negotiated rates and to apply international food safety standards in a uniform and transparent manner.”

Long negotiations on Russia joining the WTO resulted in the country being able to enact many trade-related reforms. Russia is expected to complete the adoption of the measures and formally join the WTO this summer. PNTR for Russia must be enacted by Congress in order to guarantee US access to the market opening and legal aspects that are part of the Russia WTO agreement. Russia’s membership in the WTO will provide significant commercial opportunities for US agriculture.

The National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF) and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) applauded the introduction of the Senate bill that will establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia by repealing the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment.

"We appreciate the efforts of Sens. Baucus, Kerry, Thune and McCain for their introduction of this bill that will repeal the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment and create new jobs and boost the US economy," the poultry groups said.

"As Russia enters into the WTO later this summer, PNTR will ensure that poultry companies can take full advantage of new business opportunities, that Russia's commitments entering the WTO are enforced and that American businesses are on an equal playing field in the Russian market."

While Russia is home to 142 million consumers and maintains one of the world's largest economies, it is the largest economy not yet formally subject to the global trading rules of the WTO.

Russia is currently the third largest export market for US broiler meat and is the tenth largest export market for US turkey.

"Continuing to export $300 million of poultry to Russia annually will provide better incomes for more U.S. workers and additional poultry to be produced by a growing number of family farmers across America," the groups noted.

"The Senate will not be voting on Russia's WTO accession, rather it will be voting on giving the United States equal accession to general tariff reductions, market opening measures and the ability of US interests, such as poultry, to seek trade relief, if necessary, through the WTO.

"The US poultry industry encourages swift action on this legislation to establish PNTR before Russia joins the WTO," urged the groups.

"This gives the United States the best chance of enjoying the full economic benefits that comes with Russia's WTO membership."