New York, N.Y., March 14, 2012 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s top global companies, is urging Congress to approve permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia, calling it essential for American business to fully benefit from new opportunities resulting from the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization.
“Russia has made, and continues to make, important progress in opening up its economy and building a more secure, predictable environment for business,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “As the world’s 11th-largest economy, with a burgeoning middle class and growing demand for U.S. goods and services, it’s far too important a market for us not to be fully engaged there.”
Under the terms of its WTO accession, Russia is obligated to implement a broad range of economic reforms that will further open its market to foreign goods and services, safeguard foreign investments, ensure greater respect for the rule of law and improve intellectual property protection. Business opportunities for U.S. firms in Russia are expected to grow in the coming years, with infrastructure and consumer spending predicted to increase significantly.
Passage of PNTR is required to graduate Russia from trade restrictions under the 1970s-era Jackson-Vanik amendment, a Cold War-era relic that has been deemed to violate WTO rules. Without the removal of Jackson-Vanik restrictions, Russia will not be obligated to extend the benefits of WTO accession to U.S. exporters, thereby putting them at a competitive disadvantage in the country.
Mr. Robinson cited Russia’s recent signature of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention as an important indication that the country intends to rein in corruption and provide a fairer, more predictable environment for foreign companies. “The country is also working toward joining the OECD as a whole, which would entail significant additional liberalization measures,” he added.
Through its membership in BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, USCIB is working to advise the OECD and its member governments on appropriate terms for Russian entry into the organization, and is assessing the potential impact for U.S. business of Russian OECD membership.
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
(212) 703-5043 or firstname.lastname@example.org