Thursday, July 4, 2013

USTR Issues Report on Russia's WTO Compliance

According to a recent report by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), annual U.S. exports to Russia increased 29% in 2012 and are up another 10.5% through the first quarter of 2013 as compared with Q1 2012. Russia is the world’s sixth largest economy, and there continues to be an enormous opportunity for U.S. manufacturers to increase exports into this sizeable market. On August 22, 2012, Russia became a formal member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after 18 long years of negotiations. In December, Congress extended Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia, terminating the Jackson-Vanick amendment. The full scope of the WTO rules, with an established system of enforceable multilateral trade rules, now apply to the United States and Russia. The report, published in June, was required by the PNTR legislation passed by Congress in December 2012. Russia still has much to do, though, to fully comply with its WTO accession agreement. One of the concerns specifically addressed in the report is Russia’s discriminatory motor vehicle “recycling fee” on the sale of imported vehicles. USTR has been working with Russia on this issue, and the Russian legislature has since published a proposed amendment to revise the program to apply the fee to domestically produced vehicles.

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