November 16,2012

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Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515

Hatch Praises House Passage of Bill to Boost U.S. Exports to Russia

Utah Senator Calls on Senate to Take Up Bipartisan Legislation Granting Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today praised the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 6156, legislation granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Russia. The measure mirrors legislation that was reported out of the Senate Finance Committee in July. Hatch called on the Senate to take up the House-passed bill as soon as possible.

 “At a time when our economy is weak, the House took action on bipartisan legislation that will spur job growth here at home and let American farmers and ranchers gain from Russia’s entrance into the World Trade Organization,” said Hatch, whose Committee has jurisdiction over international trade policy. “A thoughtful and balanced approach, this bill will hold Russia accountable by strengthening the rule of law and cracking down on corruption and rampant human rights abuses. It’s a win-win bill and the Senate should act swiftly to take up the measure without further delay. It’s the responsible thing to do.”

During Finance Committee hearings on PNTR for Russia, Hatch expressed a number of concerns with both the Russian Government and the Obama Administration’s Russia policy, including concerns regarding Russia’s compliance with its international agreements, poor respect for the rule of law, rampant corruption in Russia, and the Administration’s willingness to hold the Russian Government accountable for violations of its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations.

After working with Chairman Baucus to produce a consensus measure, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and grant Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) on July 18, 2012. Under Jackson-Vanik specified countries, like Russia, are denied trade relations with the United States unless the country fulfilled certain freedom-of-emigration requirements, or received a Presidential wavier.  In order for U.S. job creators, workers, farmers and ranchers to fully benefit from Russia’s accession to the WTO, including use of WTO dispute settlement mechanisms, the U.S. Congress must remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment and grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Russia.