WASHINGTON (KATV) - The U.S. Senate passed a new trade bill with Russia, bringing more job opportunities to Arkansas, according to U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR).
The move removes 40 years' worth of trade restrictionsthat had prevented Arkansas businesses from being able to maximize the Russianmarket.
"Arkansas's economy stands to really benefitfrom tearing down these artificial trade barriers. Last year, Arkansas exported$56 million worth of goods to Russia. The more we can increase trade abroad,the more opportunities we have to add jobs here at home," Boozman said.
Earlier this year, Russia formally enteredthe World Trade Organization (WTO). In order to be accepted into theorganization, Russia agreed to lower its import tariffs, strengthenintellectual property protections, and resolve problems through a rules-baseddispute resolution system. The Russia Trade Bill makes normal traderelations permanent between the U.S. and Russia, allowing U.S. companies totake advantage of the new trade rules that the WTO's other 155 membersenjoy. The bill--which also includes important human rights provisionsthat would deny visas and freeze the financialassets of Russian officials thought to be involved in human rightsviolations--overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last month andnow goes to President Obama for his signature.
"This bill is a job creator and the Presidentneeds to sign it right away. Each day that we wait to increase engagementin the Russian market, other nations increase their foothold. Passage of thisbill helps even that playing field in today's competitive global market. That's going to result in jobs here at home," Boozman said.
Normalizing trade relations with Russia willcreate additional economic opportunities for Arkansas manufacturers, farmersand ranchers. Trade with Russia has created positive benefits forArkansas's machinery, aerospace and poultry sectors which combined makeup 86percent of our state's exports to Russia.
"Arkansas companies have showed they cansuccessfully compete in the Russian market. We have a chance to makefurther inroads in a growing market of 140 million consumers through passage ofthis bill. A growing market equals more jobs in Arkansas," Boozman said.