Next week, the US House of Representatives should resume discussions on trade normalisation with Russia. Next Tuesday, a House committee in charge of legislative proposals will hold a working meeting to consider the lifting the notorious Jackson-Vanik Amendment targeting Russia and Moldova. The House has placed a notification of the meeting on the internet. Enacted in 1974, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment made closer trade ties between the USA and the USSR contingent on Soviet Jews’ freedom to emigrate. The amendment remains in force, although it’s regularly waived vis-à-vis Russia since 1989.
Over 500 American companies in the Coalition for US-Russia Trade urged the Congress to ratchet up work on a draft bill to establish permanent trade relations with Russia. Voice of America reported Friday that they submitted a joint letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to cooperate with Congress on eliminating the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. The coalition pointed up that as long as the USA dithers on enacting Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), American business will have to watch foreign competitors snatch the best deals that “will lock in commercial relationships for years to come”.
10 November 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
A coalition of neoconservative Republicans and interventionist Democrats block action on getting rid of Jackson-Vanik. In short, Jackson-Vanik remains because of domestic American political concerns, not because of any real force that it may retain. After all, there’s no bar to Jews emigrating since 1989… many of them have returned since then, fancy that. In fact, Rav Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, went from Brooklyn to Russia in the 90s, and he’s a member of the RF Public Chamber and a member of Putin’s “outer” inner circle (that is, he’s close to VVP, but he’s not one of the siloviki). The situation addressed (badly) by Jackson-Vanik no longer exists… therefore, it should go in the shitcan. Now, if we can do this, we can also shitcan such overly-expensive Cold War relics as NATO and American deployments on the European continent. The Europeans are perfectly capable of their own national defence… but we should continue deployment of American forces in the UK, which is part of the Anglosphere (and part of the American FEBA based on the GIUK Gap and the English Channel). We can’t afford such hegemonic fripperies anyway, can we?