Thursday, June 21, 2012
William H. Cooper
Specialist in International Trade and Finance
U.S.-Russian trade is governed by Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974, which conditions Russia’s normal trade relations (NTR) status, including the “freedom-of-emigration” requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. On December 16, 2011, the 153 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) invited Russia to join the organization, after Russia completed an 18-year accession process. The WTO requires each member to accord newly acceding members “immediate and unconditional” most-favored-nation (MFN) status which is called NTR in U.S. law. Russia is expected to formally join the WTO sometime in the summer after its parliament has approved the accession package which is expected to occur sometime in early July. In order to comply with the WTO rule, the United States would have to change Russia’s status from conditional NTR to unconditional or permanent NTR (PNTR).
The change in Russia’s trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia and authorize the President to grant Russia PNTR. On June 12, 2012, Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation (S. 3285) to remove the application of Title IV to trade with Russia. Therefore, Members of the 112th Congress confront the issue of whether to authorize PNTR for Russia. Some Members of Congress want to link congressional consideration of PNTR for Russia with S. 1039 and H.R. 4405—the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.
Date of Report: June 15, 2012
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS21123
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