A bill that would result in tariff cuts on U.S. construction-equipment exports to Russia is heading toward a Senate vote. The measure, which would establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia, cleared a hurdle on Nov. 16, when the House approved it on a 365-43 vote. In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said he would work to get the bill through that chamber by late December.

The measure has the support of groups such as the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Russia is the 11th-largest market for U.S. construction equipment, says the Commerce Dept.

The bill would make the U.S. eligible for tariff reductions that Russia has agreed to as a new World Trade Organization member. Russian tariffs on U.S. construction equipment now range up to 25% and would average 5.3% under PNTR, Commece says.

The bill also would extend PNTR to Moldova and call for sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations in Russia.