U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) voted today in support of bipartisan legislation (H.R. 6156) that grants Russia and Moldova permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with the United States. H.R. 6156 was approved by a vote of 365-43, and would open key Russian markets to U.S. employers, workers, and farmers who would otherwise be unable to commercially benefit from Russia's recent accession to the World Trade Organization. The bill would require Russia to cut its tariffs and reduce other trade barriers that could cause U.S. exports to Russia to double or triple within five years. Additionally, the bill would safeguard intellectual property rights while advancing the rule of law and fighting corruption in Russia, which is the world's 9th largest economy and home to 142 million people, including a large and growing middle class.
Rep. Kelly spoke in support of the bill from the House floor today, noting the significant economic advantages to granting Russia PNTR status, especially for Pennsylvania, whose exports to Russia totaled $226 million in 2011 alone. In his floor statement, Rep. Kelly read a statement of support from Rick McNeel, chairman and president & CEO of Erie-based Lord Corp., who wrote, "Approving PNTR with Russia and continuing other free trade initiatives is critical as we seek to create new American jobs and compete with other countries that are moving aggressively to increase their global exports."