Committee Markup: Russia’s WTO Accession and Granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations

Congressman Sandy Levin

Opening Statement of Ranking Member Sander Levin

Committee Markup: Russia’s WTO Accession and Granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations

(Remarks as Prepared)

Since our hearing on this issue in June action within the control of Congress has improved. Those of us who have been pressing for a bill that seeks to strengthen enforcement are pleased that our efforts came to fruition in the bipartisan outcome of the Senate Finance Committee’s markup last week.

Action within the control of Russia – most directly that related to Syria – has unfortunately not changed enough.

As we know, failing to grant PNTR does not prevent Russia from joining the WTO. They are scheduled to do so on Aug. 22 and our government has agreed to their accession agreement. Failing to act only prevents U.S. companies, workers, and farmers from gaining the benefits of Russia’s WTO membership.

There are serious outstanding trade issues we have with Russia – ranging from IPR enforcement to the rule of law. Russia’s WTO membership will help us to make progress on some of these issues. At the same time, Russia’s accession will not, by itself, fully solve these problems. We will need to continue to work actively to address these issues at every opportunity.

For example, without PNTR, if Russia would decide to massively subsidize a key industry, and those subsidies harm U.S. exporters, there is nothing we can do about it today. But with PNTR, we would be able to challenge those subsidies and either remove them or face WTO-sanctioned retaliation by the United States.

The bill before us today is much improved on enforcement. Among other things, it requires the Administration to report on Russia’s implementation of all of its WTO commitments and to describe the Administration’s plan to address any deficiencies. It establishes a new mechanism to gather and report information on bribery and corruption in Russia. And it requires the Administration to negotiate new agreements to address longstanding issues with IPR enforcement and barriers to U.S. agricultural exporters.

I would like to submit for the record an exchange of letters between Mr. McDermott and myself and the USTR on the use of Section 301. A bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Sherrod Brown and in the House by Representatives Michaud and DeLauro provides that the Ways and Means Committee has the right to request that the Administration take action regarding Russia’s compliance. I favor such a mechanism. Upon further examination it is clear that existing law (Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974) already provides “any interested person” the right to petition for such an enforcement action. This week, we exchanged letters with USTR confirming that Section 301 already enables the Ways and Means Committee to request action – and requires USTR to respond within a fixed timeline.

In addition to our ongoing efforts around enforcement we also need to do more as a Committee and as a Congress and as individual members on the issues of human rights and Syria.

So I urge the House leadership to work with us and the other committees of jurisdiction to nail down three things: (1) work with Senate leadership to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate Magnitsky bills as soon as possible; (2) after resolution of differences confirm that the Magnitsky bill and the PNTR bill will be joined together before any action on the House floor; and (3) determine how best we can send a clear message – through report language and other steps – to Russia that it needs to work with the other nations of the world to address the violence against civilians in Syria.

I appreciate Chairman Camp’s willingness to do so on a bipartisan basis. быстрые займы онлайн срочный займ https://zp-pdl.com/how-to-get-fast-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-cash-advances.php быстрые займы на карту

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