Russia has now become the 156th member of the World Trade Organization. (Business Week story) What does it mean for the United States? A round-up:
From Business Roundtable John Engler, in a news release:
“The United States simply cannot afford to bypass this immediate opportunity to support the U.S. economy and American jobs,” said BRT President John Engler. “We commend House leaders for planning to move Russia PNTR legislation in September. We believe there is strong bipartisan support and momentum to pass this legislation, and we urge Congressional leaders and the White House to work together to get it done in September. Any further delay will only hurt American exporters and their workers, as America’s major competitors in Europe and Asia move to sign contracts and make deals that could disadvantage U.S. companies for months or years to come.”
From Reuters, "US business hopeful Congress passes Russia trade bill in Sept "
In Geneva, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy told Reuters he was optimistic Congress would approve PNTR in the coming weeks because "if U.S. was not to do this, this probably would be a disadvantage for U.S. business."
Executive Director Randi Levinas of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade, in a joint news release with the U.S.-Russia Business Council:
Congress and the Administration must not waste time during the window of opportunity available in September to work together to approve PNTR. We are pleased with recent indications from House leadership that this legislation will be on the floor in September. Russia is an attractive $400 billion import market that spans nine time zones with a growing middle class. To update its infrastructure and industrial base, Russia has the choice to turn to other WTO members or it can turn to the United States. We are urging a strong bipartisan vote on Russia PNTR to reflect the example set by the Ways and Means and Finance Committees last month. PNTR is a vote for the U.S. economy and U.S. jobs.
New York Times, "U.S. Companies Worry About Effect of Russia Joining W.T.O. ":
After Russia joins the W.T.O. and without permanent normal trade relations, “American companies like Caterpillar will be at a disadvantage compared to Chinese, Korean, Japanese and European competitors,” said Jim Dugan, a Caterpillar spokesman. Losing sales in Russia could affect hiring decisions at United States factories, where Caterpillar employs 55,000 people.
The company’s gigantic mining trucks illustrate the risks to American exporters. Tariffs on the vehicles will decrease to 5 percent, from 15 percent, under W.T.O. rules Depending on their size, these trucks costs $1 million to $7 million, meaning the Russian government could, without risking recourse under the W.T.O., ask Caterpillar to pay $100,000 to $700,000 more in tariffs than its principal Japanese competitor, Komatsu, for each American-made truck sold in Russia.
Business Roundtable has extensive materials on the economic consequences for the United States of Russia's joining the WTO at www.brt.org/russia
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