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Public Statements

Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, we will soon be voting on whether to establish permanent normal trade relations--otherwise known as PNTR--with Russia and Moldova and to update human rights legislation on Russia.

We have to take many difficult votes in this Chamber, but this is not one of them. In fact, this is a rare opportunity to pass a good bill on which we all can agree.

PNTR is good for U.S. jobs. Russia is a fast-growing market. When Russia joined the WTO in August, it opened its markets to the other 155 members of the WTO who have PNTR with Russia. PNTR will give U.S. farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers new opportunities in Russia and new jobs at home.

Our competitors in China, Canada, and Europe are now taking advantage of these opportunities because they have PNTR with Russia. They already have it. We are the only WTO member missing out on these opportunities. If we now pass PNTR, we could level the playing field and compete. If we compete, we will win. We will sell more beef, we will sell more aircraft, we will sell more tractors, and we will sell more medical equipment. Our banks and insurance companies will grow. PNTR will give our knowledge industries greater protections for their intellectual property, and our farmers will have new tools to fight unscientific trade barriers. If we pass PNTR, American exports to Russia are expected to double in 5 years. This bill has strong enforcement provisions to help ensure that American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and exporters get the full benefit of PNTR. This bill has strong human rights provisions. Senator Cardin's Magnitsky Act punishes human rights violations in Russia and helps to address the corruption problems Russia now faces.

In July, the Finance Committee voted unanimously, 24 to 0, in favor of PNTR legislation. Last month, the House of Representatives passed the PNTR legislation now before us with 365 ``yes'' votes. Now we need to act to pass this bill that supports U.S. jobs. Let's take advantage of this opportunity to take a good vote on a good bill. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of giving U.S. workers and businesses a chance to compete and vote in favor of the PNTR.

I thank my colleague from Utah, Senator Hatch. He is a great person, and we have worked very closely. The two of us have worked together, and we made a good team to get this legislation passed.

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Mr. BAUCUS. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Utah. He is a good man. I also thank staff who helped put this bill together. Amber Cottle, on my side, and Everett Eissenstat, who works for Senator Hatch, worked very hard. They lead very good, trained teams, I might add. They are very talented, able folks.

I see this too as a vote to help propel us to the next level of trade expansion. One is the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being worked on by the United States and other Asian countries. I think it is a dramatic opportunity for growth.

Second, working with Europe, the potential free-trade agreement with Europe, there has been a lot of interest in Europe joining the United States and reducing barriers to trade. It is a great opportunity that we should take advantage of. Obviously, that raises another question, which is trade promotion authority. Next year Congress and I will work to get trade promotion authority passed so we can include these trade agreements and help American companies and, equally importantly, help American consumers because American consumers and American workers are, frankly, helped dramatically by properly negotiated trade agreements when it is in the best interests of the United States.

I thank the Presiding Officer for all she does too.

I yield the floor.

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