Friday, July 27, 2012

Permanent Normal Trade Relations With Russia

Posted by Tina

The United States currently does not provide permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Russia, because of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974.  The Jackson-Vanik amendment was created during the cold war to put pressure on the Soviet Union by linking free trade to human rights, including the freedom of emigration. 
Under WTO rules, every WTO member must grant all other members Permanent Normal Trade Relations, also known as Most-Favored Nation status. With Russia's upcoming accession to the WTO, the United States will not be in compliance with this rule unless Congress acts soon.
As a member of the WTO, Russia will be required to decrease its tariffs and remove barriers to imports of goods and services. Russia will also be required to comply with WTO requirements regarding transparency in setting rules and IPR protection. According to US Trade Representative Kirk: "If the United States cannot apply the WTO Agreement to Russia by the time Russia becomes a WTO Member, U.S. businesses, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, creators, and workers will be at a distinct disadvantage with our global competitors." For more details on this issue, visit the U.S. Chamber's "PNTR Primer" website and the USTR website.