Published: July 18, 2012
Washington – Business Roundtable (BRT) applauded today’s unanimous vote in the Senate Finance Committee providing strong bipartisan approval of legislation to approve the establishment of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. PNTR is necessary if the United States is to fully benefit from the significant market-opening reforms that Russia has agreed to make upon its admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August.
“We congratulate Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch for their leadership in making today’s successful vote possible,” said Doug Oberhelman, Chairman & CEO, Caterpillar Inc., and Chair of BRT’s International Engagement Committee. “We are hopeful that this strong, bipartisan Finance Committee vote will provide the momentum necessary to move Russia PNTR to the Senate floor for immediate approval.”
Russia, the world’s ninth largest economy, will join the 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 rights, 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 and not having access to the WTO’s enforcement provisions to hold Russia accountable for its WTO commitments.
“Without PNTR, U.S. companies and workers will be at a distinct disadvantage in the Russian market as our competitors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere begin to lock-in sales and long-term contracts,” Oberhelman said. “It is urgent that the House and Senate 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.