Russia officially joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week, ending the longest negotiations in the history of the trade body, having first submitted an application for membership in 1993. Despite this achievement, the United States has yet to grant the country permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status, which the WTO mandates all countries do for other members. Russia has been granted normal trading relations status by the U.S. on an annual basis since the early 1990s, but this designation must be made permanent for the U.S. to fully enjoy the benefits of Russia’s WTO membership. Committees in both the House and Senate have approved measures to grant PNTR to Russia and Moldova but action has yet to happen in either full chamber.
Russia’s WTO accession will provide the U.S. and other WTO members improved trade access to that market and stronger mechanisms to enforce the country’s commitments to domestic supports, export subsidies and state trading enterprise disciplines. The Joint International Trade Policy Committee between NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates, which recommends trade policy to both wheat organizations’ boards of directors, has approved a resolution supporting giving Russia PNTR status.