November 16,2012

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Baucus Calls for Senate to Quickly Pass Bill Boosting U.S. Exports to Russia

Following House Approval, Finance Chairman Continues Push for Bipartisan, Job-Creating Legislation

Washington, DCSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today commended the House of Representatives’ passage of the bill to repeal the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment and establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. By establishing PNTR, American businesses will be able to capitalize on Russia’s growing market, potentially doubling U.S. exports to Russia within five years. The bill also helps fight human rights abuses in Russia and extends PNTR to Moldova. Senator Baucus led the Senate Finance Committee to pass its version of the PNTR bill in July, and the Senate is expected to work to pass final legislation on the issue this year.

“Today’s vote in the House of Representatives has moved the ball forward on this bipartisan, job-creating legislation. Passing this bill will provide a one-sided economic benefit for the U.S. by boosting our exports to Russia, and that’s exactly what America’s ranchers, farmers, workers and businesses need,” Senator Baucus said.  “I will continue to work in the Senate to get PNTR across the finish line and onto the President’s desk before the end of the year. We need to act now to take advantage of this opportunity and provide a much needed boost to our economy.”

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, Congress must first enact PNTR for Russia before the U.S. can gain full access to this emerging market. Until then, American businesses will continue losing out on export opportunities in the Russian market to competitors in China, Europe and the more than 150 other WTO member nations. 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 – services, manufacturing and agriculture included.

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 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.