Baucus Applauds Committee Passage of Jobs Bill Establishing
Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia
For Immediate Release
July 18, 2012
Committee Also Approves Bills Strengthening Customs
Enforcement, Aiding Citrus Growers and Textile
Manufacturers, Strengthening Trade Ties with Africa and
Central America, and Extending Import Sanctions against
Washington, DC - Senate Finance Committee
Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today applauded the
Committee's unanimous approval of his bill establishing
permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia and
removing Russia from the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment.
Chairman Baucus's bill will enable U.S. businesses to
create jobs here at home by capitalizing on Russia's
growing market. The legislation supports and creates
thousands of U.S. jobs across every sector of the American
economy, including manufacturing, agriculture and services,
by helping double U.S. exports to Russia within five years.
"We took a major step forward today to seize this
opportunity to boost U.S. exports to Russia and create the
jobs we need here at home. All this boils down to one
thing: jobs," Baucus said. "Russia will formally be a
member of the WTO next month, so that is Congress's
deadline for passing PNTR. There is no time to waste
- America risks being left behind. If Congress misses
that deadline, American farmers, ranchers, workers and
businesses will lose out to the other 154 members of the
WTO that already have PNTR with Russia. American
workers will lose the jobs created to China, Canada and
Europe when Russia, the world's seventh largest economy,
joins the WTO and opens its market to the world. This
is an opportunity to create jobs we can't pass up."
Russia's legislature today approved an agreement to
join the World Trade Organization (WTO), so Russia will
formally become a WTO member in 30 days. As part of
the "accession" process, Russia will lower tariffs and
increase market access for foreign businesses from
countries with which it has permanent normal trade
relations. Congress must pass legislation
establishing PNTR by the time Russia joins the WTO for U.S.
farmers, ranchers, workers and businesses to see the full
economic benefits of the deal.
Annual U.S. exports to Russia currently total $9 billion
per year, and they will double within five years if
Congress passes PNTR. Russia is already the world's
seventh-largest economy, and it could surpass Germany and
Japan by 2040, meaning the long-run gains of increased
exports there would be even greater.
Unlike a free trade agreement, the United States will not
provide any market access benefits, lower any U.S. tariffs,
or make other changes to its trade laws as a result of
Russia's WTO accession. PNTR simply allows U.S.
farmers, ranchers, workers, and businesses to take
advantage of Russia's concessions. These include:
additional market access for U.S. service providers;
improved intellectual property enforcement; higher quotas
for U.S. beef, poultry and pork producers; decreased
domestic agriculture subsidies; consistent science-based
sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures; and new dispute
settlement tools to enforce WTO rules. The bill also
extends PNTR to Moldova.
Chairman Baucus also applauded the Finance Committee's
approval of three other proposals: a modified version of
the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE)
Act; a proposal to establish, renew, or modify the Citrus,
Cotton and Wool Trust Funds;
and a proposal to amend provisions of the African
Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Dominican
Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement
(CAFTA-DR) and to reauthorize and renew Burma sanctions.
"Customs evasion can take different forms, such as
mislabeling products or submitting fraudulent documents,
but its goal is always the same: to conceal an import's
true country of manufacturing to evade legitimate import
duties. These practices rob our government of
hundreds of millions of dollars in duty revenue, and they
deny U.S. producers relief from unfair trade," Baucus said.
"The Citrus, Cotton and Wool Trust Funds will help American
growers and manufacturers by combating threats to their
businesses and leveling the playing field for their
products. Extending the 'third country fabric'
provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act will
help ensure U.S. retailers have the certainty they need to
help their businesses succeed and grow and stem the tide of
job losses in Africa. And by reauthorizing the import
sanctions on Burma for three years, we encourage the
Burmese government to undertake reforms and continue making
positive political steps forward."
The ENFORCE Act, which the committee passed by voice vote
and was originally sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), enhances the enforcement of
antidumping and countervailing duty orders by requiring
U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct timely
investigations of alleged evasion and take action to
apply the correct duties. Antidumping and
countervailing duty orders help protect American jobs by
imposing duties on imports of foreign goods that are
unfairly priced or subsidized, and that undercut U.S.
The bill to create a Citrus Trust Fund, to renew and modify
the Cotton Trust Fund, and to modify and extend the Wool
Trust Fund also passed by voice vote. The Citrus
Trust Fund would provide scientific research and technical
assistance to combat citrus diseases and pests. The
Cotton and Wool Trust Funds support American textile and
clothing manufacturers by ensuring they compete on a level
playing field with their foreign competitors.
Finally, the Committee approved a
bill to extend a key provision of the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (AGOA) and make non-controversial
technical changes to the Dominican Republic-Central
America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
textiles and apparel provisions. That bill would also
reauthorize import sanctions against Burma for three years,
while preserving the Administration's right to waive or
terminate those sanctions.
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