Baucus Leads Senate Passage of Bill Boosting U.S. Exports
For Immediate Release
December 06, 2012
Finance Chairman's Job-Creating Legislation Headed to
President's Desk for Signature into Law
Washington, DC - Senate Finance Committee
Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) led the Senate to pass a bill
today boosting U.S. exports by establishing permanent
normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. The
legislation, which passed by a vote of 92-4, is expected to
double American exports to Russia within five years and
support thousands of jobs across every sector of the U.S.
economy, including manufacturing, agriculture and services.
The bill also helps fight human rights abuses in
Russia and extends PNTR to Moldova. Under Senator
Baucus' leadership, the Senate Finance Committee
unanimously passed its version of the bill in July.
"The economic benefits from passing this bill are one-sided
for the U.S. We give up nothing in return, and it
puts U.S. businesses and workers on a level playing field
with our foreign competitors already reaping the benefits
of Russia joining the WTO. This bill will boost U.S.
exports, support jobs in the U.S. and help American
businesses, workers, ranchers and farmers take advantage of
Russia's growing economy," Senator Baucus said.
"Today's vote shows Congress is still able to come together
to do the right thing for the American people, and we need
to carry this momentum forward to overcome the many
Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August,
and as part of the WTO accession process, it lowered
tariffs and increased market access for foreign businesses.
However, to this point, American businesses have been
prevented from fully capitalizing on the new market access,
because the U.S. has not yet extended PNTR status to
Russia. Doing so will put American exporters on a
level playing field with their competitors in Europe, China
and among the more than 150 WTO member nations.
Additionally, the benefits of passing PNTR will be
one-sided: the U.S. is not required to make any market
access or tariff concessions to Russia as part of
establishing PNTR or with Russia's WTO accession process.
Instead, establishing PNTR would help to boost the
U.S. economy and create jobs here at home, across every
sector of the economy. The House of Representatives
passed PNTR legislation last month.
The legislation also removes Russia from the 1974
Jackson-Vanik amendment. Congress originally passed
Jackson-Vanik to push the Soviet Union to drop restrictions
on the emigration of its Jewish population. But with
the Soviet Union gone and no such restrictions in existence
in Russia today, Jackson-Vanik is a relic of the
past. The bill passed today takes new steps to
address human rights violations in Russia, punishing those
responsible for acts such as the death of anti-corruption
lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and others by restricting their
U.S. visas and freezing their U.S. assets. The bill
has broad support among Russian human rights and democracy
Senator Baucus has long fought for a robust trade agenda
that supports American jobs through strong enforcement of
current agreements and an aggressive pursuit of new
markets. In February,
he traveled to Russia to pursue new trade opportunities
for U.S. businesses, ranchers and farmers. Chairman
Baucus also recently
traveled to Japan and New Zealand to meet with senior
economic and trade leaders and discuss key issues
surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade
agreement. The Senate Finance Committee has
jurisdiction over international trade issues.