December 06, 2012

Manchin Statement on Bipartisan Trade Agreement with Russia

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement about the vote to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia. The agreement passed the Senate 92-4.  

“With a strong trading relationship with Russia, this agreement will increase our ability to create jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector,” Senator Manchin said. “West Virginia is already exporting nearly $10 million a year in goods to Russia, and this will only increase trading opportunities in important sectors to our state’s economy. The strong bipartisan support for this agreement demonstrates that it will help all Americans compete on a fair playing field.” 


  • In 2011, West Virginia exported nearly $10 million in machinery, chemicals, transportation equipment, electrical equipment and plastics to Russia. For example, in 2011, West Virginia exported $1.7 million worth of track-laying tractors to Russia. 

  • West Virginia exports to Russia have grown 27 percent over the past year, and experts project export growth to continue if PNTR status is enacted.

  • The Permanent Normal Trade Relations agreement with Russia clears a path for additional exports, with tariffs on chemical products dropping from an average of 6.7 percent to 5.3 percent. In addition, tariffs on tractors would drop from 15.3 percent to 6.3 percent. 

  • Normal Trade Relations (NTR) status means that a country promises to treat the goods and services of one country no less favorably than the products of another country. Currently, all countries except Cuba and North Korea have NTR status with the United States.

  • If the United States denied Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Russia, American exporters would have been unable to compete with foreign competitors or hold Russia accountable to its obligations through the World Trade Organization. 

  • The United States has not agreed to provide any market access benefits, lower any U.S. tariffs, or make any other changes to our trade rules and laws.