Published: June 12, 2012
Washington – Business Roundtable (BRT) applauded today’s introduction of bipartisan legislation to provide permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia, and urged Congress to approve PNTR this summer. The bill introduction coincided with today’s launch of BRT’s “50 Days for Trade” campaign, an aggressive nationwide advocacy effort to promote Congressional approval of Russia PNTR.
“Passing PNTR will enable U.S. exporters to sell more goods and services to Russia, which, as we all know, is good for our economy and will help support American jobs,” said Doug R. Oberhelman, Chairman & CEO, Caterpillar Inc., and Chairman of BRT’s International Engagement Committee. “We are pleased that legislation to approve PNTR was introduced in a bipartisan manner. This reflects the strong support in Congress for Russia’s joining the rules-based WTO and passage of PNTR legislation so U.S. companies and their workers can capitalize on greater access to the Russia market.”
Oberhelman praised Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kerry (D-MA), John Thune (R-SD), and John McCain (R-AZ) for their leadership in introducing PNTR legislation.
Russia, the world’s ninth largest economy, is expected to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) later this summer. When it does, all WTO member nations will gain unprecedented access to Russia’s market of 142 million consumers – including lower Russian tariffs, greater market transparency, protection of intellectual property and adherence to WTO trade rules. The United States, however, must approve PNTR before its manufacturers, service providers, farmers and workers will fully benefit from Russia’s WTO commitments. Otherwise American companies risk being outliers in the fast-growing Russian marketplace.
“The economic opportunities for American companies presented by Russia’s membership in the WTO are significant, but only with PNTR,” Oberhelman said. “Without PNTR, U.S. companies and workers cannot compete on a level playing field in the Russian market with our competitors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. This is no time to discourage U.S. exports; that’s why Congress and the President should act with a sense of urgency to approve PNTR before the August recess.”
Passage of Russia PNTR legislation is Business Roundtable’s top trade priority this year. To learn more, visit www.brt.org/Russia.
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Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with over $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 14 million employees. BRT member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market and invest more than $150 billion annually in research and development – nearly half of all private U.S. R&D spending. Our companies pay $163 billion in dividends to shareholders and generate an estimated $420 billion in sales for small and medium-sized businesses annually.
BRT companies give nearly $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.