The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) have welcomed the passing of a bill that could lead to the establishment of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia and Moldova.
The House of Representatives, which makes and passes federal laws in the US, overwhelmingly passed H.R. 6156 with 365 voting for and just 43 against.
If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama, Russia and Moldova will graduate from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act of 1974, which affects US trade relations with communist or former communist states that restrict human rights.
The legislation currently prevents the US taking full advantage of Russia’s August 2012 ascension to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Both the NMPF and the USDEC, which represents the global trade interests of US dairy producers, processors, co-operatives, ingredients suppliers, and export traders, have applauded the bill’s passage through the House of Representatives
According to ESDEC president Tom Suber, the House of Representatives’ approval represents a “significant step forward” towards reopening the rapidly expanding Russian dairy market.
“This is a significant step forward on the path to reopening one of the world’s largest dairy importing markets,” said Suber.
“USDEC has been working extensively to help provide a firm basis for restoring access for US dairy exporters to Russia. More is needed beyond PNTR to achieve that goal but approval of PNTR is a vital piece of puzzle.”
NMPF CEO and president, Jerry Kozak, reiterated the industry’s excitement over the vote.
“NMPF hopes that House action today will help to spur swift action by the Senate to also approve PNTR with Russia so that we can move closer to re-establishing exports of US cheese, butter and other products to benefit of America’s dairy producers,” said Kozak.
“This is a major market with solid opportunities for our industry and it is critical to ensure we have the same access to it that our competitors around the world enjoy.”
The Russian dairy market has been closed to US dairy products for more than two years due to Russian insistence on certain dairy certificate statements and accompanying facility inspection requirements.
The US has previously been unwilling to accept these requirements.