EXTENSION OF NORMAL TRADE RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE
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Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I rise today to support H.R. 1053, legislation to extend permanent normal trade relations with Ukraine. This is the House companion to the bill, S. 632, that Senator LUGAR and I introduced and shepherded through the Senate last year.
Senator LUGAR just forcefully outlined the issues in only the way that the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee can. I agree with what he said and cannot say it any better. So, I will be brief.
As the chairman mentioned, this bill comes at a critical time for Ukraine--on the heels of dramatic presidential elections and shortly before important elections in the Rada. This legislation grew out of our trip to Ukraine last August, as we saw firsthand the key role that the United States must play in consolidating prodemocracy, pro-free market reforms. I believe it is critical that we continue to send a clear message to the Ukrainian people that there are tangible benefits to continuing down this path. This bipartisan legislation does just that.
It is my honor to be the lead cosponsor of the Senate companion bill and I look forward to this legislation enhancing the U.S.-Ukraine relationship. I look forward to the President signing this bill into law.
I yield the floor.