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House Passes Bill Normalizing Russian Trade

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 1:44pm
Jim Abrams, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has voted to end Soviet-era trade restrictions, in a move strongly sought by U.S. manufacturers and farmers hoping to take advantage of Russia's expanding and more open markets.

In its first major vote of the lame-duck session, the House displayed bipartisan support for the legislation that establishes permanent normal trade relations with Russia while outlining sanctions for Russian officials involved in human rights violations. The Senate is expected to take up the measure after the Thanksgiving break.

Russia entered the World Trade Organization in August, requiring Moscow to lower tariffs and take other market-opening measures.

But American exporters will not have access to those trade benefits unless Congress eliminates a 1974 restriction on trade with the former Soviet Union. That's the purpose of the bill passed Friday.

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