Yesterday, on a bipartisan vote of 92-4, the Senate passed legislation which graduates Russia from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, thus granting the country permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status and holding Russian officials accountable if they violate human rights. The House passed the same bill last month on a 365-43 vote. The legislative language approved by Congress echoes recommendations developed and promoted by BPC in its Russia report released earlier this year.
In late August, Russia officially became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and agreed to abide by international rules to open its markets to foreign investments. PNTR allows the United States to take advantage of Russia’s membership and the opportunities for U.S. businesses and products this provides.
Russia’s demand for U.S. agricultural products, consumer goods and manufactured items is very robust, and major Russian companies need U.S. financial and human capital in a variety of high-technology sectors to modernize and sustain GDP growth. Experts estimate that American exports to Russia could double in five years – to $20 billion – which could spur job creation and growth here at home. With Russia embedded in the WTO’s institutions and commercial laws, the U.S. will also have a stronger toolkit to protect its investors and resolve trade disputes.