The U.S. Senate Thursday passed the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012 with a bipartisan vote of 92-4, ensuring that the U.S. is able to establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia, and benefit from its recent accession into the World Trade Organization.
The decision comes behind a previous 365-43 approval from the House. Agriculture groups widely support the measure, which is likely to improve market access for U.S. goods if PNTR is granted.
The National Chicken Council and several other poultry trade groups commended the Senate for their rapid attention on passing this legislation and urged the president to sign the bill into law.
"This is an important issue for the U.S. poultry industry, and we appreciate the senators who voted in favor of this bill," the groups said. "We commend their bipartisan voting for the betterment of trade, and we encourage the president to act quickly, as the House and Senate have, and sign this bill into law."
If PNTR is granted, the U.S. will be on a level playing field with other countries seeking to trade with Russia, and will enjoy general tariff reductions and WTO moderation if needed.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said Wednesday that Russia PNTR is "a critical step toward ensuring the U.S. benefits from Russia’s accession to the WTO and remains competitive in that market. U.S. farmers will have more certain and predictable market access as a result of Russia’s commitment not to raise tariffs on any products above the negotiated rates and to apply international food safety standards in a uniform and transparent manner."
U.S. agricultural exports to Russia are forecast at $1.4 billion for 2012, AFBF notes.