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Rep. Keith Ellison's Statement On His Vote Supporting Permanent Normal Trade Relations For Russia


Location: Washington, DC

"Today I voted for the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012 (H.R. 6156), which was paired with the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act and grants Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with the United States.

"Russia's record on international trade, particularly its poor labor rights record and history of imposing barriers to U.S. exports, remains a concern. However, by granting Russia permanent normal trade relations the United States makes permanent a status that it has granted to Russia every year since 1994. In addition, the United States is not changing any of its tariffs by granting Russia PNTR. Since Russia is now a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States can bring trade cases against Russia at the WTO if it doesn't meet its commitments.

"I believe today's vote is an important step forward for human rights in Russia. The Sergei Magnitsky Law would enable the United States to impose sanctions and deny visas to individuals from Russia involved in the detention, torture, and ultimate death of Sergei Magnitsky--or any individual in Russia who has committed human rights abuses. President Vladimir Putin has made it a point to restrict human rights since taking power in May. Russian demonstrators beaten by police now have fewer legal rights. The legislature also approved a new law strengthening the government's ability to prosecute individuals for treason. Putin's government also has restricted the activities of non-governmental organizations. This bill will be a useful tool to compel Russia to clean up its human rights record."

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