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U.S. Trade Representative Kirk Comments on Russia World Trade Organization Vote

07/10/2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed the news of the Russian Duma’s ratification of Russia’s World Trade Organization (WTO) accession package.

“We are pleased to hear that Russia has completed this critical first step in its domestic process for approving the terms for becoming a Member of the World Trade Organization. Russia’s membership in the rules-based global trading system of the WTO will contribute to Russia’s economic growth as well as provide us with new opportunities to guide and grow our bilateral economic relationship. We reiterate our call on Congress to act now on Jackson-Vanik and Permanent Normal Trade Relations legislation,” Ambassador Kirk said.

The legislation will now move to the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council, for adoption, and then to the President for signature. Russia has until July 23 to notify the WTO that it has ratified and accepted the terms for its membership. Thirty days after Russia notifies the WTO that it accepts these terms, Russia will become the Organization’s 156th Member.

In December, the United States notified the WTO that the WTO Agreement could not apply between the United States and Russia because the Jackson-Vanik amendment precludes the United States from extending Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia. If the United States cannot apply the WTO Agreement to Russia by the time Russia becomes a WTO Member, U.S. businesses, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, creators, and workers will be at a distinct disadvantage with our global competitors.