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What They’re Saying: Extending Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Russia and Moldova

Administration officials, Members of Congress, and stakeholders are voicing their support for congressional approval of H.R. 6156, which authorizes the termination of Jackson-Vanik and the extension of permanent normal trade relations to Russia and Moldova. President Obama commended passage of the legislation, as did U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Below is a sampling of what others are saying so far – check back for periodic updates.

“This legislation, when enacted, will ensure that America's businesses and workers receive the full benefits of Russia's recent accession to the WTO. As American companies have greater access to the Russian market, U.S. exports are expected to increase, and more U.S. exports mean more American jobs. Moreover, this necessary step will further level the playing field for American workers and businesses, which is why the president has made passage of this bill a top legislative trade priority.”

-Dr. Rebecca Blank, Acting Secretary of Commerce

Full Statement Here

“The passage of this bill will allow American businesses to reap the same economic opportunities in Russia’s markets that other World Trade Organization members receive, resulting in greater access for American workers, companies, farmers, ranchers, and service providers and the creation of more American jobs.”

-United States Department of State

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“The economic benefits from passing this bill are one-sided for the U.S. We give up nothing in return, and it puts U.S. businesses and workers on a level playing field with our foreign competitors already reaping the benefits of Russia joining the WTO. This bill will boost U.S. exports, support jobs in the U.S. and help American businesses, workers, ranchers and farmers take advantage of Russia’s growing economy.”

-Sen. Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance

Full Statement Here

“This legislation marks a pivotal step forward in our relations with Russia and Moldova. Strengthening our bilateral trade relations with these nations will provide access to new markets for American businesses, farmers and ranchers, expand our economy here at home, and create much-needed jobs. At the same time, this measure includes strong enforcement tools to ensure Russia lives up to its international trade obligations, and provisions to help advance human rights and the rule of law in Russia. Today’s Senate passage of the bill reflects the work of true bipartisanship. We must now build off the success of this trade initiative and continue to work together to enhance America’s competitiveness and increase access to new markets around the world.”

-Sen. Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance

Full Statement Here

“American businesses and entrepreneurs will no longer face a competitive disadvantage in the Russian market,” said Thune. “The Senate’s adoption of Russia PNTR today opens up new possibilities for American manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, and service providers…Russia is the fifth largest importer of agricultural products and imported nearly $32 billion in agricultural commodities last year, making it a tremendous opportunity for commodity exporters. I look forward to President Obama signing this bill into law, and ensuring we do not delay job creation and export opportunities both in South Dakota and across the country.”

-Sen. John Thune, Ranking Member of the International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Finance

Full Statement Here

“I’m very glad we finally got this done because it modernizes our trade relationship with a post-Cold War Russia, and it means new American jobs and exports as we enter this market…In Massachusetts, my home state, we exported $120 million in goods to Russia last year, and now that number will climb. It means hundreds of jobs in Massachusetts.”

-Sen. John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Full Statement Here

“I am very pleased the Senate passed the House bill to grant PNTR with Russia, ensuring that the U.S. can reap the benefits of Russia’s membership in the WTO. This important legislation will lead to increased exports, new American jobs, and gives us a powerful new enforcement tool…I hope we can continue our long-standing tradition of promoting bipartisan, pro-growth trade policies into the next Congress.”

-Rep. Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means

“This bill ensures that American workers, farmers and ranchers will not be left behind in this increasingly competitive global economy. With PNTR, we can now take advantage of Russia’s rapidly growing market and create U.S. jobs.”

-Rep. Kevin Brady, Chairman of the Trade Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means

Full Statement Here

“Today, the Senate ensured that U.S. companies will have better access to the Russian market when it passed H.R. 6156 by a strong, bipartisan vote of 92-4. By granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia, Congress has provided the President the tools needed to ensure Russia follows World Trade Organization rules and the market access commitments it has made. This will help create a level playing field for American businesses and workers seeking to export to the growing Russian market.”

-Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, House Democratic Whip

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“The Senate passage of the House bill will increase the opportunities for export of American made products and services, and enable us to enforce World Trade Organization rules that Russia has agreed to follow.”

-Rep. Sander Levin, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means

“Getting Russia PNTR done is an important step for the U.S. economy. Thismove will create jobs here in the U.S., and since Russia had joined the WTO and already had low tariff rates with us anyways, this move just makes it easier for us to make sure they are playing by the rules.”

-Rep. Jim McDermott, Ranking Member of the Trade Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means

Full Statement Here

"We welcome today’s historic Senate action which provides the U.S. business community with the certainty and predictability it needs to compete in Russia’s growing market. Passage of Russia PNTR offers an important boost to U.S. businesses across sectors. Our companies will now be able to fully access opportunities presented by Russia’s accession the WTO."

- Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO of Alcoa and Chairman of the U.S.-Russia Business Council

Full Statement Here

“Today’s vote in the U.S. Senate marks an important victory for U.S. manufacturers, service providers, farmers and ranchers. Our businesses will finally have the same rights and opportunities in the Russian market as their foreign counterparts. We look forward to President Obama’s signing of this historic legislation to ensure the competitiveness of U.S. exports to Russia.”

- Randi Levinas, Executive Director of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade

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“Russia’s market provides significant potential for increased U.S. exports and investment, supporting jobs in the United States. H.R. 6156 helps ensure that U.S. companies and their workers will benefit in full from Russia’s WTO commitments and that the United States can utilize WTO dispute settlement to enforce those commitments.”

-Calman Cohen, President of the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT)

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"Today's action by the Senate sends long-sought legislation to the president's desk that offers enormous opportunity for U.S. exports, economic growth and jobs."

-Jim McNerney, Boeing Chairman, President, and CEO

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“With roughly 142 million consumers and its position as the world’s sixth-largest economy in terms of purchasing power, Russia is a significant market for U.S. exporters like our company. Today’s approval of Russia PNTR is a victory for American companies and workers.”

-Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc., and Chair of Business Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee

“We applaud the actions of the Congress in passing this important legislation and urge the President to quickly sign it into law to enable U.S. companies and workers to compete on a level playing field with foreign competitors in the growing Russian market.”

-Samuel R. Allen, Chairman and CEO of Deere & Company

Full Statement Here

“The Chamber applauds the Senate for today’s overwhelming vote to help American companies sell their products in the world’s ninth largest market. This is a rare bill that will create American jobs without costing the taxpayer a dime…More and more Americans see trade as an engine of growth and jobs, and our elected officials increasingly recognize the need to tear down the barriers that shut U.S. products out of foreign markets.”

-Thomas J. Donahue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO

Full Statement Here

“Passing this legislation through both chambers reinforces the commitment of Congress to American manufacturers by ensuring equal access to Russian markets…We are hopeful that the President will act quickly to sign this bill into law so that we can feel the benefits and assurances of the agreement as soon as possible.”

-Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company

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“The Senate’s passage today of legislation granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia will ensure the U.S. benefits from Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization and remains competitive in that market…Russia’s membership in the WTO will provide significant commercial opportunities for U.S. agriculture, including increased sales of poultry, pork and beef.”

-Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation

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“This is an important issue for the U.S. poultry industry, and we appreciate the senators who voted in favor of this bill. We commend their bipartisan voting for the betterment of trade, and we encourage the president to act quickly, as the House and Senate have, and sign this bill into law.”

-National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF), and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC)

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“This is a watershed moment for US trade and economic relations with Russia. “With passage of this legislation, America can now use the full array of tools available through the World Trade Organization to ensure Russia strengthens intellectual property protections and further opens its market to software and other technology products and services. This will bolster innovation and promote economic growth in both countries.”

-Robert Holleyman, President and CEO of Business Software Alliance

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“The Senate’s approval of legislation to establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia is an important step in the process to ensure that U.S. exporters are not left behind now that Russia has joined the WTO…We urge the President to sign this legislation and establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia without delay.”

-Eric Schinfeld, President of the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT)

Full Statement Here