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U.S.-Russia trade up for vote

Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. business groups are hopeful Congress will pass a bill next week approving Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia, officials said.

Congress has scheduled a discussion of the bill Tuesday night and is expected to vote Wednesday, The Hill reported Sunday.

If passed by the House, the Senate will vote, and lawmakers said the upper chamber has already proved it is ready to pass the bill when it was unanimously approved by the Senate Finance Committee in July.

"After the Senate Finance Committee unanimous vote and House Ways and Means voice vote over the summer, it only makes sense that PNTR would be one of the first orders of business after the election," said Christopher Wenk, senior director of international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Supporters of PNTR said without the legislation, U.S. businesses could lose out to Europe and China.

"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," said Randi Levinas, executive director of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade.

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