Washington, DC The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today applauded the agreement reached in principle between the United States and Russia on market access issues relating to the terms of Russia‘s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“We welcome the conclusion of this agreement in principle and look forward to its signing at the APEC meeting in Hanoi next week. This agreement will help move Russia one step closer to completing its accession to the WTO. Russia is one of the largest remaining economies outside the WTO, and its WTO accession will advance further economic reform through greater opening and adherence to WTO trade rules. The NFTC supports a commercially meaningful bilateral agreement on Russia‘s WTO accession, and we are pleased to see that we are close to achieving this important goal,” stated NFTC President Bill Reinsch.
With the bilateral agreement negotiated, Russia must continue and finish multilateral processes for acceding to the WTO. If these discussions are successful, Russia could be a member of the WTO in the coming months. However, in order for the United States to benefit fully from the terms negotiated in the bilateral agreement, the U.S. Congress must grant Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status.
“Over the next few months, we will continue to work with members of Congress to explain the necessity and importance of granting PNTR to Russia in order to take full advantage of the terms of its accession to the WTO,” said Mary Irace, NFTC Vice President. “Without PNTR for Russia, U.S. businesses and workers will not benefit fully from the expanded market access opportunities that will result from Russia joining the WTO.”
Irace concluded by stating, “We hope the recent completion of Vietnam‘s accession to the WTO and the impending accession of Russia signals that the WTO remains vital to the global trading system. The NFTC urges WTO negotiators to achieve a breakthrough on the Doha Round so that the WTO may continue to serve as the core foundation of the trading system and as an effective force for trade liberalization and openness.”
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.