U.S. Senate panel approves Russia trade, human rights bill

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 18, 2012 12:51 PM
U.S. Senate panel approves Russia trade, human rights bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to ensure U.S. exporters share in the benefits of Russia's upcoming accession to the World Trade Organization and to also punish Russian officials for human rights violations.

The strong bipartisan vote improves chances for the bill to move quickly through the full Senate and the House of Representatives and be signed into law by President Barack Obama before Russia enters the WTO in August.

"That is our deadline for passing PNTR (permanent normal trade relations)," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said. "If we miss that deadline, American farmers, ranchers and businesses will lose out to the other 154 members of the WTO."

(Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by Vicki Allen)

(This story was corrected in the headline to show Senate committee, not full Senate, approved bill)