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

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DeFAZIO. I thank my friend, the gentleman, for the time.

We could, today on the floor, just replay the debate from 11 years ago in the lame-duck session about China. It's about exporting U.S. goods to China. Just get them in the WTO, give them permanent normal trade relations, and they'll follow the rules. Well, when we adopted that, our trade deficit with China was $84 billion. Today it's $295 billion.

The issue isn't the tariffs the Russians have. The issue wasn't the tariffs that the Chinese had. It's all of their manipulation and nontariff barriers that go into these nonmarket economies. How is it going to be any difference with Russia?

The debate is disconnected from the reality. We're concerned about Syria, so let's reward them with permanent normal trade relations. You can't go to the WTO and complain about the Russians supporting a thug who's killing his people in Syria. That's not something you can use the WTO for.

We are giving up the tools we have to try and push Russia on economic issues; and we're binding ourselves to this international body, which has a secret dispute resolution process with unelected bureaucrats who have no conflict-of-interest rules. Now, that's a powerful tool we're going to use against those Russians. It worked real well against the Chinese. It doesn't work against the way the Chinese are manipulating their markets to keep out our goods, to steal our international property, and all the host of other unfair trade practices there that the Russians can just duplicate very easily. The WTO is not the solution to these issues.

We have more power today with a bilateral agreement. We have more power today with the capability of depriving them of a normal trade relation status with the United States. If we want to use our clout, we should vote this bill down.

And it's not just about Syria and human rights and a host of other abuses in Russia. It's about American jobs. Today, the biggest export under the WTO for the last 15 years has been American jobs. How is that going to change by binding us, one more time, to the WTO with one more nonmarket, essentially dictatorial economy with a corrupt regime running the country?

How is that going to work any differently than it has worked with China? It won't. This is a recipe for more job loss. It's not about saying, Oh, the terrorists will go away, and they're just going to start buying all our goods. No, it's not going to happen. All the same abuses that we have seen in China will be replicated by the regime in Russia, and it will become, yet again, another large addition to the deficit side of our ledger on trade. I urge Members to oppose this.

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