Approval by Congress of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia will create new market opportunities for companies in Massachusetts that have already boosted exports to Russia by 30 percent this year.
The U.S. Senate approved PNTR status for Russia by a 92-4 last week. Senator John Kerry and Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts both voted in favor of the measure. The US House of Representatives voted 365-3 to approve the same legislation in November as seven members of the Massachusetts delgation voted in favor: Barney Frank, Stephen Lynch, Edward Markey, James McGovern, Richard Neal, John Olver and Nicola Tsongas.
PNTR will enable U.S. businesses to compete for a greater share of trade with Russia. President Barack Obama is expected sign the legislation into law this month.
The increased flow of Massachusetts-made products to Russia comes as that nation’s growing middle class presents a strong economic opportunity for US exporters. Russia is now the world’s ninth largest market.
Russia became a member of the World Trade Organization in August. In order to join the WTO, Russia was obligated to make reforms to protect intellectual property, prevent arbitrary imposition of trade barriers, and strengthen compliance with “rule of law.” With these economic reforms now underway, and with the Russian market becoming more open to trade from western nations, the timing is right for Bay State employers to explore increasing trade with Russia.
Trade is a key economic factor for U.S. growth and jobs. The 112th Congress has already demonstrated its commitment to strengthening the U.S. trade position with passage of legislation to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank and with approval of Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. The Russia PNTR legislation completes the set of trade accomplishments by this Congress.