ROSSLYN, Va.—National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today welcomed bipartisan approval by the United States Senate of legislation to grant permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Russia and provide access for U.S. businesses to the benefits associated with the world’s ninth largest economy’s entry into 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. After overwhelming House passage of the bill, H.R. 6156, in November, the Senate vote clears the way for the president’s signature.
According to NEMA President and CEO Evan Gaddis, this legislation gives manufacturers and service providers the opportunity to compete on a fair and level-playing field with foreign competitors in Russia.
“Following the strong House vote three weeks ago, I commend the Senate for its action. NEMA urges the president to sign the bill into law as soon as possible,” Gaddis said.
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 Senate voted 92-4 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 PNTR 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.
NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.
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