United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today released a statement welcoming Russia as the 156th Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“We congratulate Russia on joining the World Trade Organization. Russia’s WTO membership opens the door to increased opportunities for American companies to export and sell products and services in Russia,” said Ambassador Kirk. “However, in order for American manufacturers, workers, service providers, farmers and ranchers to take full advantage of Russia’s WTO membership, Congress must act to terminate Jackson-Vanik and authorize permanent normal trade relations for Russia. As President Obama has said, he is committed to working with Congress to pass this legislation as soon as possible, so American businesses will not be at a competitive disadvantage in Russian markets.”
On July 18, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill terminating the application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment and authorizing the President to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia. On July 26, the House Ways & Means Committee approved a similar bill. Only when the United States and Russia can apply the WTO Agreement between them will American businesses and workers be able to reap the full benefits of Russia’s WTO membership.