Agence France Presse, 6/12 [“US senators introduce bill to end trade curbs on Russia”, Lexis, BJM]
A bipartisan group of US senators introduced legislation Tuesday that would scrap a decades-old law imposing trade restrictions on Moscow, saying it's necessary as Russia joins the WTO. Washington's former Cold War adversary has been given the green light to join the World Trade Organization, which means the Russian and US governments will need to grant each other permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) by the time the accession is complete. Washington would need to lift a 1974 law, the Jackson-Vanik amendment, under which normal trade relations are granted to Russia only on an annual basis. "This is an opportunity to double our exports to Russia and create thousands of jobs across every sector of the US economy, all at no cost to the US whatsoever," said Democrat Max Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. "Jackson-Vanik served its purpose during the Cold War, but it's a relic of another era that now stands in the way of our farmers, ranchers and businesses pursuing opportunities to grow and create jobs," he added. Republican co-sponsor John Thune noted that presidents from both parties have been granting Russia normal trade status annually since 1992. "It is time to establish this treatment on a permanent basis so that American farmers, manufacturers, investors, and service providers will have the ability to take full advantage of the new business opportunities resulting from Russia's entry into the WTO" later this summer, he said. US business groups support the lifting of Jackson-Vanik, as Russian WTO membership will allow US companies to take advantage of additional market access, greater intellectual property enforcement and lower Russian agriculture subsidies. "Passing this bill will ensure that US businesses, ranchers, farmers and workers will not be at a disadvantage in the Russian market compared to their global competitors," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement welcoming the legislation. US exports to Russia total about $9 billion per year, with some studies showing that the figure could double within five years after Russia earns PNTR status. Also backing the legislation were Senator John McCain as well as John Kerry, who called on Congress to pass the new bill so that the United States is not left on the sidelines while other nations benefit from favorable treatment in the Russian market. "We cannot afford to dither, delay, and deny ourselves the job creation and major export opportunities that come from passing PNTR," Kerry said.
Political capital is key- Failure collapses US-Russian relations
Miller 2011 (Jacqueline Miller, senior associate at the EastWest Institute, April 7, 2011, “The WTO and the Reset,” EastWest Institute, http://www.ewi.info/wto-and-reset)
It took Barack Obama several months and some tough lobbying to finally win congressional approval for the New STARTtreaty last December, which was seen as the key to the administration’s reset with Russia. Another fight could already be brewing over Obama’s support for Russia’s World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, which is the next big goal of the administration’s Russia policy. Citing Russian human rights abuses and lack of democratic development, congressional critics want to keep Russia subject to the Jackson-Vanik amendment—a Cold War relic that, if left in place, would effectively nullify both Russian and U.S. gains from Russian WTO membership. But, somewhat surprisingly, the administration could develop a win-win outcome by taking a page from its dealings with China, another country whose human rights practices stir congressional unease. The Jackson-Vanik amendment to the 1974 Trade Act denies permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to non-market economies that restrict emigration. The amendment was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress to pressure the Russian Union to allow Russian Jews to emigrate. In 1994, the Clinton administration found Russia to be in full compliance with the amendment’s freedom-of-emigration requirements. And in 2002, the United States officially began describing Russia as a market economy. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and now Obama all declared their intention to work with Congress to repeal the legislation as it applies to Russia, but no action has been taken. The reason: Congress still sees Jackson-Vanik as a lever to punish Russia for its human rights record even when the executive branch is prioritizing the security aspects of the bilateral relationship. Jackson-Vanik’s ongoing application has been a major symbolic irritant in the relationship, even though the United States has granted Russia a waiver every year since 1992. But once Russia joins the WTO, which could happen next year, Jackson-Vanik will go from being a symbol of mistrust to inflicting actual harm both to Russia and the U.S.-Russia relationship.Jackson-Vanik is inconsistent with WTO requirements on unconditional application of most-favored nation status. If Russia enters the WTO and is still subject to Jackson-Vanik, the United States will have to invoke the non-application principle, by which a member can opt out of its obligations to a newly acceded member. The United States has invoked non-application before—and is the only WTO member to have done so. Non-application, however, is reciprocal. U.S. businesses would face market barriers in Russia that other companies would not be subject to. Congressional refusal to pass legislation to permanently graduate Russia from Jackson-Vanik would then hurt the U.S. economy. With U.S. support and some of the hardest negotiations behind it, Russia is, according to some observers, 95 percent of the way to WTO membership, after first applying nearly 18 years ago. By comparison, China’s accession process took 15 years; the average is five to seven years. And although there are still economic and political barriers to Russian accession—Georgia has a significant role as a possible spoiler of Russian WTO ambitions—the United States is actively working to support Russia’s bid. As Vice President Joe Biden puts it, membership would produce “stronger ties of trade and commerce that match the security cooperation we have achieved.”
Russian relations are key to solve every impact-alternative is crisis escalation and war
Commission on US Policy Toward Russia 2009 (US Senate, “THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR U.S. POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA,” March)
Securing America’s vital national interests in the complex, interconnected, and interdependent world of the twenty-first century requires deep and meaningful cooperation with other governments. The challenges—stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, defeating terrorist networks, rebuilding the global economy, and ensuring energy security for the United States and others—are enormous. And few nations could make more of a difference to our success than Russia, with its vast arsenal of nuclear weapons, its strategic location spanning Europe and Asia, its considerable energy resources, and its status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Rapid and effective action to strengthen U.S.-Russian relations is critically important to advancing U.S. national interests An American commitment to improving U.S.-Russian relations is neither a reward to be offered for good international behavior by Moscow nor an endorsement of the Russian government’s domestic conduct. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the importance of Russian cooperation in achieving essential American goals, whether preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, dismantling al- Qaeda and stabilizing Afghanistan, or guaranteeing security and prosperity in Europe. Success in creating a new and cooperative relationship with Russia can contribute to each of these objectives and many others. Failure could impose significant costs.
1NC – Russian Econ Modernization Impact
Repeal key to Russia economic modernization
ICTSD 3-21, US Lawmakers Begin Debate on Russia Trade Restrictions, Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Volume 16 • Number 11 • 21st March 2012, http://ictsd.org/i/news/bridgesweekly/128997/, BJM
“[Jackson-Vanik] limits Russia’s competitiveness in international markets for higher value-added products, leaving Russia trapped in its current petro-state model of development and preventing it from transforming into a modern, diversified and more hi-tech economy,” the letter added.
Failure to modernize and diversify causes Russian economic collapse
ICD 10 – Institute of Contemporary Development, 2010, “Information Technology and Russia's Future,” online: http://www.riocenter.ru/en/_priorities/competitive_economy
Russia’s extremely strong economic growth is one of the country’s recent major accomplishments. Undoubtedly, the natural resources sector has played a significant role in this achievement. However, economic growth based solely on the natural resources sector is neither sufficient nor sustainable. We are entering the era of the global information society, where knowledge is the core resource and mechanism of accelerated development. Russia’s continued economic growth will depend on the successful development of the innovative industries of the nation’s economy, particularly innovative infrastructure. The advanced development of high-tech industries, including the Information and Communication Technology Sector (ICT), is also a key condition for a strong and growing economy. In most developed countries, ICT represents 8-12% of a country’s GDP and is one of the leading sectors in terms of capitalization of the global economy. This sector’s role will only strengthen with time. Alongside oil & gas, Russia’s ICT is one of the two drivers of economic development. Since 2000, this sector has developed four times faster than the average performance of the Russian economy. ICT has demonstrated rapid, steady and stable growth in all of its segments. The implementation of a number of key national projects and other large-scale government programs will also encourage the development of innovative industries.
Russian econ instability causes political instability and nuclear war.
Filger 9 – Sheldon Filger, columnist and founder of GlobalEconomicCrisis.com, May 10, 2009, “Russian Economy Faces Disastrous Free Fall Contraction,” online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sheldon-filger/russian-economy-faces-dis_b_201147.html In Russia, historically, economic health and political stability are intertwined to a degree that is rarely encountered in other major industrialized economies. It was the economic stagnation of the former Soviet Union that led to its political downfall. Similarly, Medvedev and Putin, both intimately acquainted with their nation's history, are unquestionably alarmed at the prospect that Russia's economic crisis will endanger the nation's political stability, achieved at great cost after years of chaos following the demise of the Soviet Union. Already, strikes and protests are occurring among rank and file workers facing unemployment or non-payment of their salaries. Recent polling demonstrates that the once supreme popularity ratings of Putin and Medvedev are eroding rapidly. Beyond the political elites are the financial oligarchs, who have been forced to deleverage, even unloading their yachts and executive jets in a desperate attempt to raise cash. Should the Russian economy deteriorate to the point where economic collapse is not out of the question, the impact will go far beyond the obvious accelerant such an outcome would be for the Global Economic Crisis. There is a geopolitical dimension that is even more relevant then the economic context. Despite its economic vulnerabilities and perceived decline from superpower status, Russia remains one of only two nations on earth with a nuclear arsenal of sufficient scope and capability to destroy the world as we know it. For that reason, it is not only President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin who will be lying awake at nights over the prospect that a national economic crisis can transform itself into a virulent and destabilizing social and political upheaval. It just may be possible that U.S. President Barack Obama's national security team has already briefed him about the consequences of a major economic meltdown in Russia for the peace of the world. After all, the most recent national intelligence estimates put out by the U.S. intelligence community have already concluded that the Global Economic Crisis represents the greatest national security threat to the United States, due to its facilitating political instability in the world. During the years Boris Yeltsin ruled Russia, security forces responsible for guarding the nation's nuclear arsenal went without pay for months at a time, leading to fears that desperate personnel would illicitly sell nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations. If the current economic crisis in Russia were to deteriorate much further, how secure would the Russian nuclear arsenal remain? It may be that the financial impact of the Global Economic Crisis is its least dangerous consequence.