Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-09) issued the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. The bill would normalize permanent trade relations with Russia. Currently, the issue preventing normalized trade relations between the two countries is the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which was enacted in 1974 to pressure Moscow to grant Jewish people the freedom to leave the country by effectively imposing higher tariffs on the then-Soviet Union. The immigration issue has since been resolved, but the amendment is still on the books. Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August, and unless the U.S. repeals Jackson-Vanik, it will be in violation of WTO rules, forcing American companies doing business in Russia to pay higher tariffs than their European and Asian competitors will.
"Since Russia joined the WTO, more than 150 nations have expanded trade there. America is leaving money and economic opportunity on the sidelines by not getting rid of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. The federal government should do everything within its power to reduce and eliminate trade barriers whenever possible. Increased trade helps American companies, and it also boosts consumer choice and economic development across the board. Russia has a 140 million-strong consumer market ripe for American goods -- and getting this deal done could double U.S. exports to Russia by 2017."