Chicago Today, Russia Tomorrow
Cross-posted from ITA Tradeology blog by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
Today I was fortunate enough to speak at the SMC3 conference in Chicago about the progress we’ve made toward achieving the President’s goal of doubling U.S. exports. SMC3 is
a supply chain industry association that provides technology to
shipping and logistics companies across the country, the very same
companies who ensure the efficient transportation of American exports.
Each year, the conference brings together representatives from America’s
most active manufacturing, trucking, rail, shipping, and logistics
The success of U.S. exporters depends in part on U.S. businesses
being able to quickly and efficiently get their products to market. So
it was fitting that I gave these remarks in Chicago, home to some of
America’s most important freight and transportation corridors. According
to the latest data, the Chicago metropolitan area is the 7th largest
export market in the U.S. with merchandise shipments totaling nearly $34
Chicago is also home to some of America’s top exporters. I was pleased to honor an innovative company, BayRu, with an Export Achievement Certificate while in Chicago. Their online store, http://www.bay.ru,
BayRu is one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in Russia. On
bay.ru, Russian shoppers can buy a wide range of American consumer goods
found in catalogues like E-bay and Amazon and then have those products
shipped to more than 160 cities across Russia and other CIS states.
But what makes this company unique is that it’s headquartered right
here…in Skokie, Illinois. BayRu has a unique business model of buying
American consumer goods here, which are often tough to find in Russia,
repackaging them, and then exporting those goods for delivery in Russia.
In January 2011, BayRu partnered with the International Trade
Administration’s Commercial Service in Chicago and Moscow to gain market
knowledge and insight. Since partnering with ITA, BayRu’s export sales
increased by more than $10 million and it plans to create 20 local jobs
here in the Chicago area.
BayRu is just another example of an American company being creative,
growing their business through exports, and creating good-paying jobs
for Americans in the process. But it is also the prime example of a
company that would benefit from Russia’s WTO accession and the repeal of
the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
Currently, Russia is set to join the WTO, which will reduce tariffs
and increase transparency, making it easier for American companies to
access this large and growing export market. However, Russia is still
covered by the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which makes trade conditional
with certain economies. If this amendment is not repealed, American
businesses would not be able to enjoy the benefits of more open trade
That’s why the Obama administration has called on Congress to repeal
the amendment and grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with
Russia as soon as possible. It makes no sense to let American businesses
stand on the sideline while our global competitors take advantage of
Russia’s WTO accession and gain access to a growing market with new
opportunities for innovative American companies, like BayRu.
If Congress establishes PNTR with Russia, it will open the door for
American businesses to expand into Russia and create jobs here at home.
BayRu will enjoy many real benefits, direct and indirect. Increasing
trust and awareness of U.S. brands will help drive their growth even
further and help them create more good-paying jobs in Chicago.
This is an important issue for many businesses across the country. To
find out more about what Russia WTO accession and the repeal of
Jackson-Vanik could mean for business, visit our website where you’ll
find detailed reports on potential opportunities for U.S. businesses.