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Hillary Clinton asks Congress to grant preferential trade status to Russia

03-01-2012 12:41 BJT

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday urged Congress to grant permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Russia, a move she said would benefit American businesses.

The top U.S. diplomat argued that Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is "very much" in the interest of the kind of rules-based economic system that Washington believes benefits Americans.

"For U.S. businesses, farmers and workers to receive the maximum benefit from Russia's entry into the WTO, we have to give unconditional permanent normal trading relations treatment to Russian goods that we provide to all WTO members," she told a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Clinton also called on the Congress to terminate the application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to Russia, saying the Cold War-era law is no longer necessary.

Russia joined the WTO in December last year after 18 years of negotiations. Washington seeks to deepen its trade relations with Moscow, as the Obama administration has pledged to double U.S. exports by 2014 through a national export initiative.

Clinton also addressed the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians in the hearing, saying it is "quite challenging" to pursue a two-state solution through negotiations.

"We obviously are pursuing with Israel and the Palestinians an effort to get the negotiations restarted, because there is no shortcut," she said.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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