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Public Statements

Russia's Membership in the World Trade Organization

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DREIER. Madam Speaker, the cover of this week's Economist magazine covers it very well. Rebuilding America's economy is its point. We all want to do everything we can to create good, American jobs. Well, unfortunately, we're on the verge of losing a potential market of 140 million consumers. And the reason I say that is that just last week and today, debate is taking place in the Duma, the Russian parliament. The Duma is the lower house, and the Federation Council is the upper house. The Duma has passed it, and the Federation Council today is debating. They may have already voted on it. They are going to be joining the World Trade Organization.

This Economist publication talks about the fact that the way we rebuild our market is through expanded exports. Well, we know that forcing Russia to live with a rules-based trading system is something that could inure to the benefit of U.S. workers. And that's what accession to the WTO is.

Guess what? Russia is going to be a member of the World Trade Organization within 30 days. The question is whether or not the United States of America will be able to have access to that market. We all know that Putin engages in crony capitalism. They have a massive bureaucracy and a corrupt court system. Forcing them to live with a rules-based trading system is the right thing for us to do.

Now, I'm happy to say that there has been an effort led by my colleagues, Mr. Long and Mr. Reed, within the freshman class that has brought 73 Republican Members to send a letter to the President of the United States urging support of permanent normal trade relations with Russia and urging this institution to support that. I'm happy it's a bipartisan effort. My friend, Mr. Meeks, has joined in this effort, as well.

I would like to, at this point, yield to my good friend from Missouri (Mr. Long) and thank him for the effort that he has made to tackle this important issue. I'm happy to yield to my friend.

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