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|Thursday, March 15, 2012||10:00|
WASHINGTON, DC – (drinks media wire) - The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) today urged Congress to pass legislation granting Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status as soon as possible, as the Senate Finance Committee considers the matter in a hearing today.
“Russia is an increasingly important export market for the U.S. distilled spirits industry,” said DISCUS Senior Vice President for International Affairs Christine LoCascio, noting that between 2001 and 2011, Russian imports of U.S. distilled spirits expanded from $3 to over $89 million. “Despite remarkable growth, U.S. spirits exporters have continued to face a range of trade barriers that have impeded their ability to fully reap the benefits of Russia’s market potential.”
LoCascio stated that the requirements of Russia’s WTO membership will address many of these concerns and help to open the market further for U.S. spirits exporters. She cited a number of key benefits to the U.S. spirits industry including:
· Tariff reductions on imported spirits from 2 to 1.5 Euros per liter for all spirits, except whiskeys, which will be reduced to 1.4 Euros per liter;
· Important commitments with regard to non-discriminatory import policies, taxation and licensing of spirits;
· Increased regulatory transparency and the opportunity for the industry to weigh in on proposed regulations that could erect trade barriers; and
· Access to the WTO dispute settlement process to address persistent and unjustified trade barriers.
LoCascio noted, however, in order for U.S. companies to take advantage of all of these concessions, the United States must provide the same normal trading rights to Russia on a permanent basis that are already provided to Russia on a temporary basis.
“Extending PNTR to Russia is a simple, concrete step that Congress can take which will boost U.S. exports and support jobs,” LoCascio said. “We urge Congress to act swiftly on PNTR status to ensure that, upon Russia’s WTO accession, U.S. companies are on an equal footing with our competitors in the Russian market.”
Frank Coleman, Distilled Spirits Council
|Name: Ben Jenkins|
|Company: Distilled Spirits Council of the United States|
|Address: 1250 Eye Street NW - DC 20005 Washington|
|Country: UNITED STATES|
|Phone: +1 202-682-8840|