WASHINGTON — The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council joined more than 500 other trade associations and businesses under the umbrella of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade in calling on Congress to “move quickly” in the days ahead to approve legislation enacting Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia.
In a similar letter to President Barack Obama, the coalition urged the president to work with Congress to ensure the passage of Russia’s removal from the Jackson-Vanik legislation and establishment of PNTR with Russia.
Russia acceded to the World Trade Organization in August, and the coalition points out that U.S. competitors in Europe, China and elsewhere are happy to “step in and take advantage of meeting Russia’s needs not only in infrastructure and modernization of its industrial base, but also the demands of a growing consumer class that is highly educated and appreciates quality.”
The coalition suggests that until Congress passes Russia PNTR legislation, U.S. executives will be relegated to an “observer” status as foreign competitors “snap up contracts that will lock in commercial relationships for years to come.”
“Since Russia already officially entered into the WTO last summer, PNTR will ensure that poultry companies can take full advantage of new business opportunities, that Russia’s commitments in the WTO are enforced and that American businesses are on an equal playing field in the Russian market,” added the four poultry associations. “Continuing to export $300 million of poultry to Russia annually will provide better incomes for more U.S. workers and additional poultry to be produced by a growing number of family farmers across America.”
Randi Levinas, the coalition’s executive director, noted in a press release that, “the time for Congress to act is now. We simply cannot afford to sit idly by and continue to put U.S. exports and jobs at risk when we know there is strong bipartisan support for this legislation in both chambers.”
Other poultry interests signing the letters include: Penn Ag Industry Poultry Council, The Poultry Federation, Sanderson Farms, Simmons Prepared Foods, Texas Turkey Federation, Virginia Poultry Federation, Wisconsin Poultry and Egg Industry Association, California Poultry Federation, Case Farms, Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., Georgia Poultry Federation, Iowa Turkey Federation, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, North Carolina Poultry Federation and Ohio Poultry Federation.