Shaheen Statement on Senate-Approval of Bipartisan Legislation to Revoke Free Trade Privileges for Russia, Countries that Commit Acts of Aggression
**Senate also clears legislation banning Russian energy imports**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, issued the following statement following Senate-passage of bipartisan legislation to revoke free trade privileges from Russia and other countries that invade sovereign nations. The bipartisan bill previously passed the House of Representatives, but was amended by the Senate. Once this version clears the House of Representatives it will be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Shaheen is a cosponsor of companion legislation that was originally introduced in the Senate – the No Trading with Invaders Act.
In addition, the Senate also cleared legislation prohibiting Russian energy imports. Shaheen is a cosponsor of similar legislation in the Senate, which would ban Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal. This legislation will also be reconsidered by the House before it is sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Revoking Russia’s preferred trade status not only squeezes its economy to further cripple Putin’s ability to continue financing his war, but sends a message to adversarial regimes around the world that trade privileges come with democratic accountability,” said Shaheen. “Putin’s forces are torturing, raping and killing Ukrainian civilians and leveling cities. He is targeting innocent populations. Putin, and every culprit implicated or connected to these horrific attacks, must be thoroughly investigated for war crimes. Every lever must be pulled by the United States and the global community to punish Putin for this barbarism following his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, which is why I’m glad to see these bipartisan, bicameral efforts clear Congress. The United States will continue to respond to the military crisis in Ukraine in support of our democratic partners and to hold Putin to account.”
Congress has granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Communist, and formerly Communist, countries as part of those countries accession to the World Trade Organization. The effect is that after receiving PNTR, countries can receive tariff-free access to the U.S. economy. Congress granted PNTR to Russia in 2012, and to China in 2000. However, Congress has revoked free trade privileges as a result of aggression in the past. In 1992, Congress revoked unrestricted market access for Serbia and Montenegro as a result of their aggression in the wake of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Revoking PNTR would have the effect of raising tariffs on goods from Russia (or a future aggressor) to the rates which they were before Russia joined the WTO and received PNTR from Congress.
Under the bill, PNTR would be revoked if the President determines that an act of aggression has taken place. After revoking PNTR in the wake of aggression, the legislation would permit the President to restore PNTR if specific conditions were met and after consultation with Congress.
The bill also extends the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which made global the sanctions program first instituted as a Russia-specific program in the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 as part of the law that extended PNTR to Russia. The Global Magnitsky Act extends U.S. sanctions against violators of human rights and corrupt actors so they do not escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to seek justice for their victims.
Shaheen has led action in the U.S. Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s belligerence against Ukraine, which also threatens the stability and security of Eastern Europe and NATO allies. On Wednesday night, legislation co-led by Shaheen to speed up military assistance to Ukraine and Eastern European nations cleared the Senate. Last month, Shaheen and members of the Senate Ukraine Caucus met with Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, and members of the Ukrainian Parliament. In February, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Portman to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she supported the inclusion of $13.6 billion in security assistance that was part of government funding legislation signed into law by President Biden.
Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in the Senate to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity against the U.S. and its allies. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her successful efforts to ban Kaspersky Lab software from operating on U.S. systems, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017. Before the Shaheen-Portman congressional delegation visit to Ukraine in January, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June.