Congress Needs to Close the Deal on Russia PNTR
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It’s a done deal—Russia is now the 156th member of the World Trade Organization. But because of some unfinished business before the Congress, the United States is the one WTO member that won’t immediately reap the benefits of Russia opening its market, safeguarding intellectual property and investments, and strengthening the rule of law.
Until Congress approves Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for Russia, American workers, farmers, and companies will be left sitting on their hands while 154 other nations engage in liberalized trade with the world’s 9th largest economy. European and Asian companies are already building on their head start in the Russian market.
PNTR does not extend any “trade preferences” to Russia. The United States won’t give up so much as a single tariff by approving it.
But we’ll give up a lot if we don’t.
PNTR exclusively benefits American farms and businesses selling their goods and services to Russia’s 140 million consumers and growing middle class. The President’s Export Council estimates that U.S. exports of goods and services to Russia—which reached an estimated $11 billion in 2011—could double or even or triple once Russia joins the WTO.
And the Russian market is poised to grow even more attractive. The World Bank forecasts that WTO accession will increase Russian GDP by 11% over the long haul as greater openness and competition in the marketplace drive growth.
Business with Russia means jobs for Americans. Congress shouldn’t pause for a moment to act on what amounts to an instant jobs bill. And one that won’t cost taxpayers a dime.
Congress needs to the close the deal on Russia PNTR as soon as it returns from the August recess.