US Poultry Groups Support Senate Bill to Establish Normal Trade Relations with Russia

Washington: The National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF) and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) applauded the introduction of a Senate bill that will establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia by repealing the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment.

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) formally approved late last year Russia's terms for membership in the organization.

But for US companies to benefit from Russia's accession, it will be necessary for Congress to permanently remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 and authorize the president to extend PNTR to Russia. Jackson-Vanik requires Russia and seven other former Soviet states and non-market economies to comply with free emigration policies before enjoying normal trade relations with the United States. Since 1994, the United States has certified annually that Russia complies with the amendment's provisions and has conferred normal trade relations (NTR) status.

"We appreciate the efforts of Sens. Baucus, Kerry, Thune and McCain for their introduction of this bill that will repeal the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment and create new jobs and boost the US economy," the poultry groups said. "As Russia enters into the WTO later this summer, PNTR will ensure that poultry companies can take full advantage of new business opportunities, that Russia's commitments entering the WTO are enforced and that American businesses are on an equal playing field in the Russian market."

While Russia is home to 142 million consumers and maintains one of the world's largest economies, it is the largest economy not yet formally subject to the global trading rules of the WTO.

Russia is currently the third largest export market for US broiler meat and is the tenth largest export market for US turkey.

"Continuing to export $300 million of poultry to Russia annually will provide better incomes for more US workers and additional poultry to be produced by a growing number of family farmers across America," the groups noted. "The Senate will not be voting on Russia's WTO accession, rather it will be voting on giving the United States equal accession to general tariff reductions, market opening measures and the ability of US interests, such as poultry, to seek trade relief, if necessary, through the WTO.

"The US poultry industry encourages swift action on this legislation to establish PNTR before Russia joins the WTO," urged the groups. "This gives the United States the best chance of enjoying the full economic benefits that comes with Russia's WTO membership."

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