The Senate is taking up legislation that would end four-decade-old trade restrictions that are blocking U.S. businesses from enjoying the benefits of a more open Russian market. It also imposes sanctions on Russian human rights violators.
Senate approval of legislation to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia would send the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The House passed the legislation last month on a 365-43 vote.
Russia on Aug. 22 formally entered the World Trade Organization, requiring it to lower its import tariffs and provide greater access to its service industry. But unless Congress gets rid of existing trade restrictions and makes normal trade relations permanent, U.S. companies cannot enjoy the new trade rules available to the WTO's other 155 members.