Senate agrees to trade agreement with Russia - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Senate agrees to trade agreement with Russia

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The U.S. Senate has agreed to a trade agreement with Russia.

The Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia legislation passed the Senate Dec. 6 by a 92-4 vote. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted in favor of the measure, but Sen. Jay Rockefeller, also D-W.Va., did not cast a vote. Manchin said he voted for the agreement because it will create jobs.

"With a strong trading relationship with Russia, this agreement will increase our ability to create jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector," 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."

According to information from Manchin's office, the agreement will allow a clear 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. West Virginia's exports to Russia have grown more than 27 percent over the past year and experts project export growth to continue if the agreement is enacted.

However, if the U.S. denied Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Russia, American exporters would be unable to compete with foreign competitors or hold Russia accountable to its obligations through the World Trade Organization, according to Manchin's office.

The U.S. House of Representatives agreed to the measure Nov. 16 by a vote of 365-43.