The Wall Street Journal covers a major issue for BRT-affiliated companies and the U.S. economy in a well-reported piece, "U.S. Firms Fear Missing Russia Boom." Excerpt:
Russia is on the cusp of joining the World Trade Organization after a two-decade journey, a landmark move to integrate the emerging economy into the international trading system.
There's one problem for U.S. companies: They may be left out of the parade.
Election-year sparring could keep the U.S. from lifting long-standing restrictions on trade with Russia by the time the country joins the WTO this summer. As a result, U.S. companies wouldn't receive the same legal protections against Russian tariffs and other hurdles to business that companies from other countries would gain, putting the U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage, executives say.
WSJ reporter Sudeep Reddy also discusses recent developments in this Marketwatch video.
One obstacle is the Jackson-Vanick Amendment, a 1974 law meant to pressure the Soviet Union into allowing Jews to emigrate, primarily to Israel. Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform have called for the repeal of the amendment, explained in a blog post, "An Antiquated Amendment: Jackson-Vanik Needs Repeal":
This vestigial legislation is a relic from a past conflict with a country that no longer exists. Over the last few years, millions of jobs have disappeared drastically increasing the need to open new markets to American goods. As Russia prepares to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) this summer, it is imperative that American goods enjoy the same economic liberalization benefits as Asian and European goods. Unless repealed, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment would allow Russia to deny American exporters equal access to its market under WTO rules.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia would open up new markets for U.S. manufacturing and agricultural products while providing consumers with lower priced products at home.
Farm groups have been vocal in urging Congress to take the necessary steps to grant Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR). For example, see this Farm Bureau fact sheet and related radio interview on the Voice of Agriculture.
Business Roundtable is certainly engaged in the issue. BRT-member CEO Sam Allen, Chairman and CEO of Deere & Company, testified recently to the Senate Committee on Finance on the need for Russian PNTR, explaining: "PNTR for Russia is crucial for U.S. manufacturers, service providers and agricultural producers to receive the full benefits of Russia’s WTO accession, and to compete on a level playing field for Russian customers. PNTR with Russia is, simply put, a benefit to the United States rather than an accommodation to Russia.”
BRT has also developed state fact sheets to illustrate the economic potential of expanded trade with Russia that would result from enactment of Permanent Normal Trade Relations. Let's consider the case of New York:
See also this BRT The Bottom Line fact sheet.
Motion to proceed to consideration of S. 744, #immigration bill, passes Senate by 84-15. Getting right into amendments.
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