House Votes to Relax Trade Restrictions Against Russia

Friday, 16 Nov 2012 03:50 PM

By Michael Mullins

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On Friday, the house overwhelmingly voted to grant “Permanent Normal Trade Relations” (PNTR) status for Russia and Moldova through the bipartisan passage of H.R. 6156.

The measure allows U.S. companies and farmers greater access to the Russian Federation’s expanding open markets.

“As one of the Top 10 economies in the world, Russia presents opportunities for American businesses. Increasing our exports to this nation will help boost our economy and create jobs right here at home. This is a boon for our homegrown companies right now as we work through prolonged economic challenges,” said Republican House Chairman Tom Price in response to the bill’s passage.

“While the social realities and governmental practices of Russia are terribly flawed," he continued, "we have the ability to positively impact the nation through our interactions with them by providing an example of our own values and the importance and power of greater personal and economic freedom.”

The sentiment was reiterated by Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King.

“U.S. exports to Russia could double or triple within five years as it reduces its tariffs and trade barriers on goods and services," King said in a statement posted to his website. "This bill was carefully crafted not just to expand economic opportunities here in America, but also to promote the Rule of Law and human rights in Russia, and I hope it receives quick passage in the Senate and is signed into law.”

The bill also contains provisions concerning human rights issues in Russia, in particular calling for the denial of U.S. visa and the freezing of assets of all Russian officials connected with the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 according to The Hill.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry described the Magnitsky provision as “defiant” and “unfriendly.”

The bill is supported by President Barack Obama and is expected to pass in the Senate.

 

The full press release:

Chairman Price Applauds Passage of PNTR

Washington, D.C.– House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) applauded the bipartisan passage of H.R. 6156, which would grant “Permanent Normal Trade Relations” (PNTR) status for Russia and Moldova, saying:

“As one of the top 10 economies in the world, Russia presents opportunities for American businesses. Increasing our exports to this nation will help boost our economy and create jobs right here at home. This is a boon for our homegrown companies right now as we work through prolonged economic challenges.
 
“This bill, which should rightly be called the Expand American Exports to Russia Act, will allow the U.S. to enjoy enforceable rights and recourse in the Russian market. While the social realities and governmental practices of Russia are terribly flawed, we have the ability to positively impact the nation through our interactions with them by providing an example of our own values and the importance and power of greater personal and economic freedom.
 
“I’d like to thank Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and all those involved in crafting this agreement for their tireless efforts and leadership on this critical issue.”

 

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