Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012, with a strong bipartisan vote of 365-43 in favor.
Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Russia Economic Relations, Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) both spoke and voted in favor of the bill:
"With its' 140 million new consumers entering into the rules-based WTO system, the Russian consumer market provides significant opportunities for U.S. companies and workers. With this vote, we look to the future, and put aside some long standing vestiges of the Cold War. First and foremost, this legislation allows U.S. businesses to take advantage of the many rules based, market opening, and tariff reducing commitments that Russia has agreed to as part of its' WTO accession package, including intellectual property rights. More exports mean more jobs, and this bill is in essence a great jobs creation bill."
In addition to granting permanent normal trade relations to Russia and Moldova, the legislation replaces redundant human rights legislation focused on the Soviet Union with legislation that addresses modern day human rights violations in Russia.
Following House passage, the Congressmen stated.
"We also strongly endorse granting permanent normal trade relations to Moldova. Since 2001, when Moldova entered the World Trade Organization, the United States has been in non-compliance with WTO rules because Congress has failed to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment. Moldova is a western oriented, fully democratic country, and Moldova deserves to be treated as an economic partner so we can strengthen our ties even further."
Representatives Grimm and Meeks added:
"With almost 90 percent of the House of Representatives voting in favor of this measure in a bipartisan fashion, we urge and expect the U.S. Senate to pass the legislative package including PNTR for Russia and Moldova along with the Sergei Magnitsky Act, and send it to President Obama's desk for signature. This is one of the most significant export enhancing and job creating bills we will consider during the lame duck session, and the Senate must act without delay."