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Poultry groups, DuPont endorse Russian PNTR

The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council on Tuesday applauded the introduction of a Senate bill that will establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia by repealing the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment. DuPont also announced its support.

U.S. firms export $300 million of poultry to Russia every year, and Russia is the third largest export market for U.S. broiler meat and is the 10th largest export market for U.S. turkey.

But the Russian government has sometimes halted imports, usually over sanitary and phytosanitary regulations. If Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization, it will be under pressure to follow WTO rules regarding imports.

“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 U.S. interests, such as poultry, to seek trade relief, if necessary, through the WTO,” the groups noted in a news release.

WTO member countries ormally approved Russia’s terms for membership in the organization late last year, but for U.S. 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.

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, the groups noted.

DuPont also issued a statement endorsing the legislation.

“DuPont has seen strong growth for our U.S.-produced products in Eastern Europe in recent years,” said DuPont Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Thomas M. Connelly.

“We look forward to robust growth in Russia as they enter the World Trade Organization,” Connelly said. “For U.S. companies to take advantage of the WTO rules and protections available to our foreign competitors in the Russian market, the U.S. Congress needs to provide permanent normalized trade relations for Russia, and we encourage them to act swiftly to ensure a level playing field for U.S. companies.”