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Utah exporters will benefit from more Russian trade, group says

Published July 17, 2012 8:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When Russia joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) later this year, exporters in Utah and throughout the United States could increase trade with the world's ninth largest economy, according to the Business Roundtable.

However, Congress must first act by approving "permanent normal trade relations" or PRTN legislation before Utah and other states can enjoy the benefits of Russia's market-opening WTO commitments, it said.

"Congressional action on PNTR will benefit Utah and its companies, farmers and workers," said John Engler, Business Roundtable president. "This is the most significant trade opportunity this year to help support American jobs and grow the United States economy."

The Business Roundtable is an association of chief executives leading U.S. companies.

Engler said a recent economic analysis indicated Utah exported $22.5 million worth of goods to Russia in 2011, which directly supported an estimated 60 jobs. He said if Congress passes Russia PNTR, those numbers can be expected to grow.

If, on the other hand, Congress fails to act, those number will likely fall as foreign competitors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere will be able to take advantage of Russia's WTO commitments, but Utah and its companies will not, he added.

Engler explained that Russia's WTO membership means that it must lower its tariffs, provide greater market transparency, protect intellectual property rights and abide by the WTO's rules of international trade.