WASHINGTON, D.C. – When Russia joins the World Trade Organization later this summer, exporters in Michigan and throughout the United States could increase trade with the world’s ninth largest economy. But Congress must first act by approving the Permanent Normal Trade Relations legislation before Michigan and other states can enjoy the full benefits of Russia’s market-opening WTO commitments.
Business Roundtable, an association of chief executives of leading U.S. companies, has launched a 50-day campaign to increase pressure on Congress to pass Russia PNTR by the August recess. Russia PNTR is BRT’s top trade priority for 2012.
“This is the most significant trade opportunity this year to help support American jobs and grow the United States economy,” said John Engler, Business Roundtable president and former Michigan governor. “Congressional action on PNTR will benefit Michigan and its companies, farmers and workers.”
The stakes are high for Michigan. As reported in a recent BRT economic analysis, Michigan exported $225 million worth of goods to Russia in 2011, which directly supported an estimated 360 jobs. If Congress passes Russia PNTR, these numbers are expected to grow. If Congress fails to act on PNTR, these numbers will likely fall, as foreign competitors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere will be able to take full advantage of Russia’s WTO commitments, but Michigan and its companies will not.
Russia’s WTO membership means, among other things, that it must lower its tariffs, provide greater market transparency, protect intellectual property rights, and abide by the WTO’s rules of international trade.
For further information on current U.S. trade with Russia on a state-by-state basis and the potential to grow exports from each state to Russia if PNTR legislation is passed, visit www.brt.org/Russia.