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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties

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 sets conditions on 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 November 16, 2012, the House passed (365-43) H.R. 6156, which would do just that, among other things. A similar bill, S. 3406, awaits action in the Senate. Both bills include contain provisions of proposed legislation—the Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012—that would impose sanctions on individuals linked to the incarceration and death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Both bills would also authorize PNTR status for Moldova.

PNTR for Russia has become an issue for the 112th Congress because, on August 22, 2012, Russia joined the WTO after having completed a 19-year accession process. The WTO requires each member to accord newly acceding members “immediate and unconditional” most-favored-nation (MFN) status, or PNTR. 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: November 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS21123
Price: $19.95

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