On Friday, I voted to pass the bipartisan Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012 in the House of Representatives granting Russia and Moldova permanent normal trade relations (PNTR). PNTR will help create economic growth and jobs here at home. It allows the United States the same benefits from accessing the Russian market as our global competitors, leveling the playing field for U.S. businesses and workers.
Russia was the largest economy not yet in the World Trade Organization (WTO) with a growing market of 142 million consumers, and it joined on August 22, 2012. As a result, Russia would be required to cut its tariffs and take on new obligations as a member of the WTO without requiring the United States to make any changes. For example, the WTO rule on sanitary standards used to regulate food safety is important to the interests of Kansas livestock producers. Kansas alone earns more than $100,000 from selling goods and services to Russia each year, and one out of every 15 Kansas jobs is dependent on trade.
This powerful new enforcement tool could cause U.S. exports to Russia to double or triple within five years. I am also pleased to be a cosponsor of the Magnitsky provision in this bill that sends a strong message to Russia: human rights transgressions will not be tolerated. However, the United States cannot receive any of these benefits until Congress, as a whole, passes this legislation. Each day without Russia PNTR, U.S. employers, workers, farmers, and ranchers lose ground to competitors in other countries. I urge the Senate to act on this bill as quickly as possible.