Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Finance Committee Open Executive Session. Following the meeting, he released a statement on the Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations legislation, which was passed out of Committee. His statement, as prepared for delivery, is below.

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Today, we are considering legislation to grant Russia permanent normal trade relations. This important legislation will give businesses, manufacturers and farmers in my home state of Delaware and across America a win by increasing market access and providing a rules-based system for trade. Russia is a growing marketplace, as the largest economy outside the World Trade Organization (WTO), and it presents significant opportunities for U.S. exports, including a significant industry in Delaware – poultry.

The poultry growers in Delaware and on the rest of the Delmarva Peninsula know the importance of the Russia marketplace all too well. Russia was a top market for U.S. poultry exports until it effectively banned U.S. poultry a couple of years ago. In Delaware, where we have more chickens than people by a margin of 300 to one, our chicken industry has grown to be an international industry. Today, about one out of every five chickens produced by local growers on the Delmarva Peninsula are exported overseas. Now, as our poultry growers seek to win back their market share with Russia poised to enter the WTO, this permanent normal trade relations agreement will provide the rules-based system necessary to make sure our poultry growers get a fair deal when exporting their products overseas.

Russia will accede to the WTO in August and it is imperative that we make sure that American businesses and farmers are not disadvantaged. Furthermore, while Russia's accession to the WTO is a step in the right direction, it is important that we act on establishing permanent normal trade relations with Russia in a manner that ensures that the U.S. fully benefits from Russia's membership. Our nation and our allies will continue to urge Russia to cooperate and adopt responsible policies and practices when it comes to its relations with Syria and Iran.

If we are to succeed economically today, the U.S. must keep up with the global economy and maintain a competitive advantage abroad. Supporting this legislation is also critical to the President's goal of doubling exports in the next five years – a goal that I strongly support. Ultimately, this legislation will mean more jobs and revenue, from manufacturers in Midwest to farmers in the First State, and for the thousands more who are part of our nation's larger supply chain. I think this legislation takes the right approach and I urge my colleagues to support its passage.