Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act, by a bipartisan vote of 365 to 43. Hastings supported the bill, which repeals the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and grants Russia and Moldova permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with the United States.
"It is essential to our economy in Washington state, where more than 40 percent of jobs rely on trade, to ensure that our growers and manufacturers can compete in foreign markets on a level playing field," said Hastings. "As long as the Jackson-Vanik Amendment remains in place, Central Washington businesses will continue to face steep tariffs while their foreign competitors can export to Russia duty-free. Today's bill is necessary not only to allow for growth in this important market, but also to protect our current market share in the seventh largest economy in the world."
The Jackson-Vanik Amendment was signed into law in 1974 as a tool to influence the emigration policies of communist countries. However, since Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) on August 22nd, this Cold-War era law has allowed Russia to impose tariffs on United States products while those imported from other WTO countries can enter Russia duty-free. In 2011, Washington state exports to Russia totaled $444.84 million.
The Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act is now awaiting consideration in the Senate.