July 18,2012

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Hatch Praises Finance Committee Passage of Job Creating Trade Bills

Committee Clears Bipartisan Legislation Granting Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations; Strengthening Trade Ties with Sub-Saharan Africa & Central America

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today praised committee approval of legislation granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Russia and expanding U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. Hatch worked with Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to establish a bipartisan, balanced proposal that addresses ongoing Member concerns involving Russian barriers to U.S. exports, corruption, and commitment to the rule of law, and joined with Chairman Baucus in introducing legislation that will strengthen trade relationships between the U.S. and sub-Saharan nations by extending the life of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). 

“By working together, the Finance Committee has passed a strong and balanced bipartisan bill that will pave the way for American job creators, workers, farmers, and ranchers to gain from Russia’s entrance into the World Trade Organization,” said Hatch. “Getting to this point required changes to this legislation to address significant concerns I had about Russia becoming a reliable international partner.  I commend Chairman Baucus for his willingness to accomplish this goal.  With this legislation, I believe we can hold Russia accountable by strengthening the rule of the law and cracking down on corruption and rampant human rights abuses. The Administration must now make sure Russia lives up to these commitments. Together, we’ve created a balanced path forward that will help grow jobs here at home at a time when our economy remains weak.  It is my hope that it will see swift passage through the Senate.” 

U.S. exports of goods and services to Russia will likely double within five years after PNTR – from $10 billion in 2010 to $20 billion in 2017, according to Peterson Institute for International Economics.

In Hatch’s home state of Utah, exports to Russia are growing faster than the state’s exports to the world. In the first quarter of 2012, Utah's exports to Russia grew 142 percent over the same period in 2011, while its exports to the world grew only 22 percent, according to the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade. Top Utah exports to Russia include food manufactures, machinery, chemicals, fabricated metal products, agricultural products, and computer and electronic products.
The bipartisan measure, which would grant Russia PNTR by removing them from the Jackson-Vanik amendment, was favorably reported out of the Senate Finance Committee with Hatch’s support. 

Today, the Finance Committee marked up three additional trade bills including, a modified version of the of the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE) Act, legislation to strengthen U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) efforts to combat anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) evasion.

“Trade remedy laws and duties are critical to ensuring that our trading partners play by the rules in order to help American businesses grow,” said Hatch. “By holding Customs and Border Protection accountable for combating anti-dumping and countervailing duty evasion, this bill will level the playing field for American workers and allow them to successfully compete in the 21st century global trading system.”

Hatch worked with his colleagues to help develop the ENFORCE Act and voted in support of the bill which was cleared by the Finance Committee today. The committee also favorably reported out legislation to extend a key provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), make non-controversial technical changes to the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) textiles and apparel provisions and reauthorize import sanctions against Burma for three years.

Hatch, the lead Republican cosponsor of the bill said, “This is a common-sense measure that will foster prosperity through strengthened trade relations and provide real opportunities for job creation and economic growth both at home and abroad. Furthermore, by extending Burma trade sanctions, this bill will give us the tools to ensure that Burma continues down the path of reform. I’m proud to have worked with Chairman Baucus on the bill. Time is of the essence, however, and we must now work towards its quick consideration on the Senate floor.”

Finally, the committee favorably reported out a proposal to establish, renew, or modify the citrus, wool and cotton trust funds.