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U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Hails Senate Vote to Extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Russia and Moldova

12/06/2012

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk applauded today’s vote in the United States Senate, with overwhelming bipartisan support, to end the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia and Moldova, and authorize the President to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations to both countries. The House of Representatives approved the same bill on November 16th by a vote of 365-46. The bill will now go to the President for signature.

"The Senate’s historic bipartisan vote today moves us closer to having our trade with Russia covered by the rules of the World Trade Organization,” Ambassador Kirk said. “As a result, American businesses and workers will have better access to the growing Russian market on the same terms as their global competitors, and the United States will have WTO procedures available to help ensure that Russia abides by its commitments. We are eager for America’s businesses and workers to begin to reap the benefits of applying the WTO rules and procedures to our bilateral trade.”

When Russia was invited to join the WTO in December 2011, the United States “invoked non-application,” which meant that the WTO Agreement did not apply between us and Russia. The United States took this step because the United States still applied the conditions in the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to granting normal trade relations treatment. As a consequence, when Russia joined the WTO on August 22, 2012, all the other WTO Members enjoyed greater market access and a more predictable rules-based trading environment than the United States. Once the United States and Russia can apply the WTO Agreement between them, U.S. businesses will be able to reap the full benefits of Russia’s WTO membership. For more information on benefits to the United States, click here.