In August, Russia formally joined the World Trade Organization. Now, the United States must grant the nation Most Favored Nation (MFN) status before trade relationships can be built. Secretary Vilsack has stated that permanent normal trade relations with Russia will be a significant opportunity for American’s agricultural producers.
The House Committee on Rules will meet this week to discuss legislation to authorize Most-Favored Nation status for Russia. The Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012 would remove both countries from the Jackson-Vanik amendment, allowing the U.S. to take advantage of Russia’s commitments as a new member of the WTO.
The proposed Act would also address individuals engaged in human rights violations, combining a Russia and Moldova trade bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee in July with H.R. 4405, the human rights legislation approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June.
Without action, U.S. competitors in the E.U., Brazil, Argentina and others will benefit from Russia’s guaranteed tariff treatment and obligation to apply science-based sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards as described by their joining of the WTO.