Baucus Wants More MT Beef Sold to Russia


The following is a press release from the Office of Senator Max Baucus:

(Washington, DC) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus held a hearing today on his bipartisan legislation to make sure Montana can take advantage of new job-creating export opportunities when Russia joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) this summer.   Without this legislation, Montana ranchers will miss out on opportunities to sell more than 60,000 tons of American beef to Russia at a lower cost to Montana.  

“Regardless of what we do here in Congress, Russia will join the WTO this summer.  We have a choice.  If we do nothing, the 154 other countries in the WTO will gain new access to Russia’s growing market, and we’ll be left on the sideline.  American workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers will lose out to their competitors in China and Europe.  But if we do pass Russia PNTR, U.S. exports to Russia are projected to double within five years, and that means thousands of new jobs here at home. These new jobs come at no cost to us – zero.  Unlike a free trade agreement, we do not lower any of our tariffs, and we do not change any of our trade laws.  This is a one-sided deal in America’s favor, but only if we act. That’s why I introduced Russia PNTR legislation last week with Senators Thune, Kerry and McCain,” Baucus told his Senate Panel and witnesses from the State Department and the nation’s top agriculture and trade officials. 

Baucus introduced his bill last week.  He traveled to Russia and met with top leaders — including, then President Dmitry Medvedev and the Russian Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik — to begin his push to get his legislation through the Senate. In March, Baucus brought Montana Stockgrowers President Watty Taylor before his Senate Committee to speak on the importance of  Baucus’s legislation for American ranchers. 

What Baucus’ Bill Means for Montana Beef:

  • Under Baucus’ bill, Russia’s accession to the WTO will significantly expand market access for American beef, by allowing 60,000 tons of frozen U.S. beef to be sold in Russia under a reduced tariff of 15 percent.  In addition, Montana ranchers will also be able to sell up to 11,000 tons of fresh chilled beef in Russia at the reduced tariff.  And, the United States will be able to export high-quality beef above the allotted amount at a 15 percent rate as well.
  • Russia is already America’s 5th largest export market for American beef by volume.  The U.S. currently exports 48,000 tons and current tariffs fluctuate from 15 to 60 percent. 

Additional background:

  • American exports of goods and services into Russia are expected to double to $19 billion within five years of Russia’s accession to the WTO.
  • But in order for American companies, and Montana ranchers, to receive the full benefits of Russia joining the WTO, the U.S. Congress must pass legislation providing Russia with what is known as Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR).  This is what the bill Baucus introduced will do.  
  • Russia agreed to open its markets and follow WTO rules as part of its accession to the WTO.  Unlike a free trade agreement, the United States will not have to grant any market access benefits to Russia as part of its accession.  But American ranchers and businesses will not be able to benefit from Russia joining the WTO without Congress passing the PNTR legislation Baucus introduced.
  •  WTO member countries formally invited Russia to join the WTO in December 2011.  Russia will become a WTO member 30 days after it ratifies the accession agreement, which it must do by July 23.


Source:  Office of Senator Max Baucus

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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