William H. Cooper
Specialist in International Trade and Finance
trade is governed by Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974, which sets conditions Russia’s
normal trade relations (NTR), or nondiscriminatory, status, including the “freedom-ofemigration” requirements
of the Jackson-Vanik amendment (section 402). Changing Russia’s trade
status to unconditional NTR or “permanent normal trade relations status (PNTR)”
requires legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV as they apply to
Russia and authorize the President to grant Russia PNTR by proclamation.
On July 18, 2012, the Senate Finance Committee marked-up and favorably
reported S. 3406 to remove the application of Title IV to trade with Russia. On
July 19, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp introduced H.R.
6156 for the same purpose. S. 3406 also includes the text of S. 1039 —the
Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2011—which had been
reported out by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 26, 2012.
PNTR for Russia has become an issue for the 112th Congress because, on December
16, 2011, the 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, or PNTR. Russia is
expected to formally join the WTO in late August. In order to comply with WTO
rules, the United States would have to extend PNTR to Russia, or invoke
the non-application provision of the WTO.
Date of Report: July 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS21123
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