CEOs of Business Coalition Urge Congress to Ensure Passage of Russia PNTR after July 4 Recess
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- CEOs of major corporations active in the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade (www.usrussiatrade.org) – a broad-based group of U.S. corporations, trade associations and small businesses actively seeking to increase U.S. exports and jobs with increased trade with Russia – today called upon the U.S. Congress to work together and move swiftly after the July 4 recess to enact Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia.
"It's time for Congress to move forward with legislation to make sure U.S. companies have the same access to Russia's market as our competitors," said Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO of Alcoa Inc. and Chairman of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, which serves as the Secretariat of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade.
Caterpillar Inc. Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman, who also chairs Business Roundtable's International Engagement Committee and who testified last week before the House Ways & Means Committee in support of Russia PNTR, said, "At Cat, we would see an immediate tariff reduction on [our 100-ton payload mining] truck. And that's important because really our only competition for this truck in the worldwide market is Japan. If we don't allow ourselves to compete with the Japanese in Russia via WTO, we see a 10 percent price premium on day one." Caterpillar is a Co-Chair of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade.
John Faraci, Chairman and CEO of International Paper, also a Coalition Co-Chair, said, "Russia is an important market for International Paper. We have invested over $1 billion in Russia and make and sell products there. WTO accession will help develop the Russian economy and enhance IP's investment in Russia. I fully support Russia joining the WTO and believe Congress should act expeditiously to grant Russia PNTR status."
Russia is the 9th largest world economy, home to approximately 140 million highly-educated and discerning consumers and an import market of more than $320 billion.
"American workers and businesses see significant opportunities in Russia. It is one of Amway's strongest markets. In order for us and other U.S. businesses to protect and increase exports to Russia we need to enjoy the full benefit of Russia's accession to the WTO," said Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel. "Russia will join the WTO in August but U.S. companies will not benefit from the protection of WTO rules unless Congress acts. Prompt Congressional action on PNTR for Russia will help protect U.S. jobs, support U.S. businesses, and enable us and many other U.S. businesses expand exports to the Russian market."
"Russia has committed upon accession to significantly reduce its tariffs on imported agriculture equipment – from 15% to 5%. However, it is possible that Russia would withhold the lower, WTO-negotiated tariff rates from our U.S.-made products until the United States granted Russia PNTR status," said Sam Allen, Chairman and CEO of Deere & Company. "That would place U.S. companies like John Deere at a competitive disadvantage relative to our foreign competitors, and with no recourse when disputes arise. And that would negatively impact our U.S. operations because the products we sell in Russia are closely connected to jobs in our facilities in the American Midwest."
The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade has issued a letter with more than 170 signatories urging Members of Congress to remove Russia from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik amendment and to enact PNTR with Russia.
The Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade, housed at the U.S.-Russia Business Council, is committed to strengthening U.S.-Russian commercial ties and preserving the competitiveness of U.S. firms, farmers and workers in the Russian market. For more information, please visit the Coalition's website at www.usrussiatrade.org.
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