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Public Statements

Russia and the World Trade Organization

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, August 22 is a very important date.

The reason I say that is that August 22 is the date that Russia will become a member of the World Trade Organization. It's a done deal. Both Houses of the Russian Parliament have passed it, and it's been agreed to.

I point to this day because there are many who believe that as we look at a vote on permanent normal trade relations with Russia that will be on the horizon--we're not going to be able to do it this week; I hope we will do it shortly after we come back in September--there are some who believe that we are playing a role in getting Russia into the World Trade Organization. That is not the case.

All we're saying, Mr. Speaker, is that since Russia is already going to be a member as of August 22 of the World Trade Organization, we want to make sure that U.S. workers and U.S. businesses will have the opportunity to have access to the 140 million consumers in Russia.

Mr. Speaker, it's important for us to note the question is not whether or not Russia will be a member of the WTO, because I believe that our access will play a role in undermining the policies of Vladimir Putin. The question is: Are we going to get our Western values into Russia? We need to say ``yes.''

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