The US Congress will consider the abolition of the Cold War-era Jackson-Vanik Amendment this summer after the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, ratifies an agreement on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), a senior U.S. official said.
Max Baucus, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, told journalists that the bill on the amendment, a major hurdle in bilateral trade with Russia, will be passed on to the Senate after Washington is certain that Russia joins the WTO.
Chairman of the State Duma Economic Committee Igor Rudensky said earlier that the agreement on Russia’s joining the WTO will be introduced to the parliament’s lower house for the ratification during the spring session, tentatively in May or June.
The amendment, named after Congressmen Henry M. Jackson and Charles Vanik, was introduced in 1974 to restrict trade with the Soviet Union and other non-market economies until they allowed free emigration.
The amendment limits trade with Russia and is an obstacle to the application of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules between the two countries. The restrictions imposed by Jackson-Vanik are often waived, but remain in place and are a thorn in the side of Russia-U.S. trade relations.