Continued from page 1

Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization this summer will mean thousands of jobs here in the United States - but only if we pass Russia permanent normal trade relations legislation by August,” said Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat and chairman of the finance committee.

Russia’s economy is growing with an emerging middle class.

In 1994, when it began negotiating WTO membership, Russia was still struggling with an economic crisis brought on by the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was only the 16th-largest economy in the world with a gross domestic product of $277 billion, Mr. Kirk said.

But today is has grown to become the seventh-largest economy at $1.9 trillion, and it is predicted to grow at 4 percent per year during the next five years.

“PNTR is not a favor to Russia,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said. “It is a significant opportunity for America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers.”