Published: June 12, 2012
Washington – Business Roundtable (BRT) today launched “50 Days for Trade,” a multi-faceted, intensified push for Congress to approve permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia by the August recess. Russia is the world’s ninth largest economy and is expected to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) this summer, but Congress needs to act for U.S. companies to fully benefit from increased market access to Russia.
“With more than 140 million people and a rapidly growing middle class, Russia offers tremendous potential for selling more U.S. goods and services, especially as Russia will be significantly opening its markets to foreign companies as early as this summer,” said Doug R. Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., and Chair of BRT’s International Engagement Committee. “PNTR will allow the United States to compete for Russian market share on a level playing field with our competitors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. That’s good news for American manufacturers, service providers, farmers and workers.”
New survey results show that a majority of the electorate supports the idea of a greater trade relationship with Russia (57 percent approve – 26 percent oppose), with support increasing even further with awareness of the potential economic benefits of a greater relationship. The poll was conducted by The Winston Group on May 26-27. Highlights include:
“The United States can either move forward to expand opportunities for American companies and workers by approving PNTR, or it can sit on the sidelines and watch our foreign competitors receive the full benefits of Russia’s World Trade Organization membership,” added BRT President John Engler. “We urge Congress and the President to work together to pass PNTR to make sure that the United States benefits when Russia joins the WTO this summer.”
Approval of PNTR is BRT’s top trade priority for 2012. When Russia joins the WTO, all WTO member nations will benefit from lower tariffs, greater market transparency, protection of intellectual property rights and use of the WTO’s dispute resolution processes in their trade with Russia. Yet the economic benefits will not be automatic for the United States. Congress must pass legislation establishing PNTR to ensure that the U.S. can benefit from Russia’s WTO commitments.
Major components of its “50 Days for Trade” campaign include the following:
To learn more about BRT’s “50 Days for Trade” campaign, 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.