Farm Bureau Urges House to Grant PNTR with Russia

The House is scheduled to vote on legislation to grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia this week. While Russia formally joined the World Trade Organization in August - but Congress must enact PNTR for the country in order to guarantee U.S. access to the market-opening and legal aspects that are part of the Russia-WTO agreement. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman calls Russia PNTR a critical step toward ensuring the U.S. benefits from Russia's accession to the WTO and remains competitive in that market. He says 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.

According to Farm Bureau - Russia has a strong capacity for growth in food imports from the U.S. For 2012 - U.S. agricultural exports to Russia are forecast at 1.4-billion dollars. There is potential for significant increases in poultry, pork and beef consumption. With this potential for expanding meat exports - Stallman says obtaining PNTR with Russia is even more important. He says Russia's membership in the WTO will provide significant commercial opportunities for U.S. agriculture.

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