National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today congratulated the strong bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives to approve legislation to grant permanent normal trade relations status to Russia and provide access for U.S. businesses to the benefits of the entry of the world’s ninth largest economy in to the rules-based international trading system.
The Russian Federation formally joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) on August 22, 2012, after many years of negotiations with the U.S. and other major trading partners. House passage of the bill, H.R. 6156, clears the way for Senate action later this month.
“Giving our manufacturers and service providers the opportunity to compete on a fair and level-playing field with foreign competitors in Russia is a good first step,” said NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis. “NEMA urges the Senate to act quickly to approve this legislation.”
The U.S. electroindustry exported more than $265 million worth of equipment to Russia in 2011, making it only the 27th largest export market.
U.S. electroindustry companies are also indirect exporters as suppliers of parts, components, and equipment to other companies that trade with Russia. A significant potential for growth in U.S. electroindustry exports to Russia is clear, given the size of the markets, the infrastructure needs, the permanent lowering of trade barriers, and the greater transparency of regulation and protection of intellectual property rights required under WTO disciplines.
The House voted 365-43 to remove Cold War–era restrictions that made normal U.S.-Russia trade relations contingent on an annual process. Under WTO rules, each member must afford the others permanent normal trade relations status in order to have access to the commercial and legal benefits of each country’s membership. Since August, U.S. companies have been at a commercial disadvantage relative to other potential suppliers to Russian customers.