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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 02:44 AM
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Cold War restriction ties up US-Russia trade
Source: Associated Press

Posted on Monday, 04.04.11
Cold War restriction ties up US-Russia trade
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Russian and Israeli tourists can now travel visa-free between their two countries, yet U.S.-Russian trade relations continue to be stymied by a Cold War law censuring the Soviets for holding up Jewish emigration.

In 1974 Sen. Henry Jackson, D-Wash., and Rep. Charles Vanik, D-Ohio, attached a provision to a trade bill denying normal trade relations to communist states that restrict emigration or punish those seeking to leave the country. In the following years the Jackson-Vanik amendment was a major factor in compelling Moscow to allow more Jews to emigrate.

It lost much of its relevancy after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and since 1994 U.S. presidents have annually waived its application in extending normal trade relations to Russia.

But the amendment remains on the books, and now poses a threat to U.S. businesses in danger of losing greater access to the Russian market if Congress doesn't repeal the measure. Republicans say they're not going to allow that until the Obama administration submits pending free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama to Congress.

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pampango Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:33 AM
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1. Russia wants to join the WTO this year or next. It will be interesting to see
how that affects the repeal of Jackson-Vanik.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday (March 8, 2011) expressed hope that Russia would finish the accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2011 with the help of the United States.

Russia is the only major economy still outside the WTO. The European Union gave its backing to the country's entry bid in December after Russia agreed to trim timber export duties and rail freight tariffs.

"I hope this process will be completed this year with the active support of the United States," Medvedev said during a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden who is on an official visit to Russia. Medvedev said that Russian-U.S. economic relations trailed behind the political ties because of Russia's absence in WTO.

Biden said the United States backed the repeal of the controversial Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which was introduced in 1974 to restrict trade with the Soviet Union and other non-market economies until they allowed free emigration, particularly for Jews, and other religious minorities.
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