Updated March 25 at 12:28am

Exporters to gain from Russian trade legislation


WASHINGTON - Rhode Island exporters stand to gain from a growing Russian market, according to Business Roundtable.

When Russia joins the World Trade Organization later this summer, exporters in the Ocean State and around the nation could see trade increases with the world’s ninth largest economy, said the business organization.

Business Roundtable, which is an association of CEOs from leading U.S. companies, insists that before states can reap the benefits of Russia’s market-opening WTO commitments, Congress must first approve permanent normal trade relations legislation regarding Russia.

“This is the most significant trade opportunity this year to help support American jobs and grow the United States economy,” Business Roundtable President John Engler said in a statement. “Congressional action on PNTR will benefit Rhode Island and its companies, farmers and workers.”

According to the organization “the stakes are high for Rhode Island.” In a recent Business Roundtable economic analysis, the Ocean State exported $7.5 million in goods to Russia in 2011.

“If Congress passes Russia PNTR, this number is expected to grow,” said the BRT’s release, adding that if Congress fails to pass the PNTR, that Rhode Island’s Russian trade will likely fall as competitors in Europe and Asia take advantage of Russia’s WTO commitments.

According to the BRT, Rhode Island exported $5.2 million in specialty woven fabrics to Russia in 2011. Russia accounted for more than 70 percent of Rhode Island’s total exports of these products.

Russia’s entry into the WTO prevents it from raising tariffs on these fabrics above its current 5 percent rate, it provides greater market transparency, protects intellectual properly rights and requires that Russia abide by the WTO’s rules of international trade.


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