Washington – When Russia joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) later this summer, exporters in Minnesota and throughout the United States could increase trade with the world’s ninth largest economy. But Congress must first act – by approving permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) legislation – before Minnesota and other states can enjoy the full benefits of Russia’s market-opening WTO commitments.
“This is the most significant trade opportunity this year to help support American jobs and grow the United States economy,” said Business Roundtable (BRT) President John Engler. “Congressional action on PNTR will benefit Minnesota and its companies, farmers and workers.”
The stakes are high for Minnesota. As reported in a recent BRT economic analysis, Minnesota exported $71 million worth of goods to Russia in 2011, which directly supported an estimated 240 jobs. If Congress passes Russia PNTR, these numbers are expected to grow. If Congress fails to act on PNTR, these numbers will likely fall, as foreign competitors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere will be able to take full advantage of Russia’s WTO commitments, but Minnesota and its companies will not.
Russia’s WTO membership means, among other things, that it must:
- Lower its tariffs
- Provide greater market transparency
- Protect intellectual property rights
- Abide by the WTO’s rules of international trade
For further information on current U.S. trade with Russia on a state-by-state basis and the potential to grow exports from each state to Russia if PNTR legislation is passed, visit www.brt.org/Russia.
Business Roundtable, an association of chief executives of leading U.S. companies, has launched a 50-day campaign to increase pressure on Congress to pass Russia PNTR by the August recess. Russia PNTR is BRT’s top trade priority for 2012.