MosNews is reporting today that Congress may be willing to abolish the Jackson Vanik Amendments and fully normalize trade relations between the U.S. and Russia. RIA Novosti quoted House International Relations Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, who is in Moscow this week, as saying that the amendments are part of a Cold War legacy that should be left behind.
Russia Blog had previously reported that most Russian analysts considered the new Democratic Congressional majority likely to be even more suspicious of Russia than the previous Republican-led Congress. However, it appears that in the wake of Vladimir Putin's speech last week in Munich, both the White House and senior Congressional leadership want to improve relations with Russia. In May 2005, Congressman Lantos called for Russia to be expelled from the G-8 for jailing Yukos oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. It appears that Congressman Lantos has moderated his position on Russia since that time.
Click on the extended post to read the full MosNews article.
House International Relations Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA)
U.S. Ready to Remove Jackson-Vanik Amendment for Russia - Congressman
Created: 21.02.2007 14:45 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 14:45 MSK
The United States intend to remove the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which has been restricting trade with Russia, a high-ranking U.S. congressman said on Wednesday, Feb. 21, during his visit to Moscow.
Tom Lantos, the chairman of the U.S. Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, who is currently on an official visit to Moscow, said that the time has come to remove the amendment.
The 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment links U.S. trade benefits, known as Normal Trade Relations (NTR), to the emigration and human rights policies of Communist or formerly Communist countries. The amendment has been lifted for many of Russia's former Communist
allies, but still remains in force for Russia.
Lantos was quoted by RIA Novosti as suggesting that such carry-overs from the Cold War should be left behind, and promised to do everything possible to ensure the amendment's abolition.
The congressman added that he expected constructive and positive cooperation between Russia and the United States, despite current tensions. Russia and the United States are currently in a dispute over American plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Central Europe. Moscow strongly opposes the deployment of a missile shield in its former backyard in Central Europe, describing the plans as a threat to Russian national security.