US distillers closer to Russia

07 December, 2012

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) has applauded the Senate's approval of legislation that will extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Russia.

The US trade body said the bill will boost "already-growing American spirits exports to the world’s third-largest spirits market by volume, and sixth-largest by value".

 Peter Cressy, DISCUS president and CEO said: “Russia PNTR has been a long time coming and is critical for American spirits exporters to make further inroads into the expanding Russian market.

“American distillers can expect to see strong growth in Russia, as well as increased jobs here in the United States, when the President signs the bill.” 

DISCUS stated that Russian imports of US distilled spirits totalled $56.3 million in January-September 2012, which represents a 13% increase compared to the previous year, according to Global Trade Atlas, which collects customs information from countries around the world.  According to the data, Russian imports of US spirits over the last decade have grown 2,254%, albeit from a very small base. In 2011, total spirits imports from the US were valued at $89.2 million, compared to 2002 when it was only $3.8 million.

Russia became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on August 22, liberalising its trade policy and agreeing to abide by "globally-recognised principles of fair and transparent trade".  However, Cressy pointed out that the lack of PNTR status for Russia has prevented US distillers and other American companies from taking advantage of Russia’s commitments and WTO enforcement mechanisms already enjoyed by all other WTO members.

“We applaud members of Congress for passing this important trade legislation and raise a toast to the US officials who negotiated the accession package,” Cressy added.

The Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, passed the House on November 16 by 365-43 vote. After passing the Senate in early December by a vote of 92-4, the bill now moves to the President's desk where DISCUS expects he will sign it.

Keywords: russia, discus

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