Today, Americans for Tax Reform announced its support of the Extension of Nondiscriminatory Treatment to Products of the Russian Federation.  The bill will lead to lower duties on U.S. exports and promote the endurance of an environment that allows American businesses and farmers to compete with those from around the world in Russia.  Without this bill, Russia’s pending admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) would re-create Cold War-era difficulties in the U.S. trade relationship with Russia.

The extension of permanent normal trade negotiations (PNTR) to Russia will allow the current trade relationship between the U.S. and Russia to continue and flourish.  With the eleventh largest economy in the world, Russia has the potential to be one of our major trading partners, which can lead to more jobs, exports and economic prosperity on both sides of the trading relationship.

The bill was introduced in the Senate today by Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).   Russia is set to join the WTO this summer, creating a tight timetable for Congress to act in order for the U.S. to continue its existing trading relationships and allow the U.S. to enjoy the job creation and new markets made available through this legislation.

“In order for American enterprise to succeed, the first step is for government to get out of the way,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “In order for the government to stay out of the way once Russia is in the WTO, we need this bill.” Norquist continued, “Tariffs are taxes and taxes hurt American companies.  The Senate should support the Thune-Bacus bill to allow American companies to continue to sell their goods in Russia.  With the world’s highest corporate income taxes, we can’t afford further blows to our competitiveness."

The benefits from the PNTR bill with Russia as increased intellectual property rights protections, access to goods and services in the Russian economy, a boost in American jobs and opportunities for cooperative innovation.

The U.S. would benefit from Congress protecting our businesses by graduating Russia from the antiquated Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act of 1974.  The 1970s amendment encourages Russian discrimination of American businesses and exports.  ATR has spoken out in the past about the damage from the old Jackson-Vanik amendment here.