The American Farm Bureau Federation this week urged the House of Representatives to pass legislation granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia. The House is scheduled to vote on Russia PNTR this week.
Russia formally joined the World Trade Organization in August. But, PNTR for Russia must be enacted by Congress in order to guarantee U.S. access to the market-opening and legal aspects that are part of the Russia-WTO agreement.
“Russia PNTR is a critical step toward ensuring the U.S. benefits from Russia’s accession to the WTO and remains competitive in that market,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “U.S. farmers will have more certain and predictable market access as a result of Russia’s commitment not to raise tariffs on any products above the negotiated rates and to apply international food safety standards in a uniform and transparent manner.”
Russia has a strong capacity for growth in food imports from the United States. U.S agricultural exports to Russia are forecast at $1.4 billion for 2012. Russia has potential for significant increases in poultry, pork and beef consumption, which are the top U.S. agricultural exports to Russia.
“With this potential for expanding meat exports, obtaining PNTR with Russia is even more important,” said Stallman. “Russia’s membership in the WTO will provide significant commercial opportunities for U.S. agriculture.”