The House of Representatives on Friday passed the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012 with a bipartisan vote of 365-43, ensuring that the U.S. may establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia, and benefit from its recent accession into the World Trade Organization.
The decision comes behind wide support in the agriculture industry. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas on Friday praised the decision.
"Today's action by the House to grant permanent normal trade relations with Russia will open up new, enforceable market access for our farmers and ranchers. For many years our exporters faced arbitrary and unpredictable market barriers in the Russian market, and we are pleased that our two countries will finally be trading on a level playing field," Lucas said.
Lucas added that in FY2012, U.S. agricultural exports to Russia exceeded $1.5 billion.
"This action will provide additional value and increased access into a growing market for our farmers and ranchers through lower tariffs and more certain trade rules," Lucas said.
The U.S. poultry industry also voiced support for the decision, citing the possibilities for new market access and export growth.
"The U.S. poultry industry applauds the House of Representatives for an overwhelming, bipartisan vote to grant PNTR status to Russia, a move that will spur job creation, boost economic growth and be budget neutral at the same time," poultry groups noted.
With the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik, poultry producers stressed that a Senate decision and approval from the President is essential. They urged for a complete approval of PNTR with Russia before the end of the year.
"Since Russia already officially entered into the WTO last summer, PNTR will ensure that poultry companies can take full advantage of new business opportunities, that Russia's commitments in the WTO are enforced and that American businesses are on an equal playing field in the Russian market," the groups said.