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Russia’s accession to WTO to help bring int’l standards to Russian economy

August 23, 2012, 7:18 UTC+3

American companies cannot enjoy all the benefits from Russia’s accession to the WTO because of the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment

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WASHINGTON, August 23 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s accession to the Worlkd Trader Organisation (WTO) will help bring international standards to the Russian economy, Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson for the Depatrment of State, said at a press briefing on Wednesday, August 22.

“We were strong and long champions of Russia coming into the WTO. We worked for many years to work through our issues and to see this day.”

She said “it’s not only good news for Russia; we also think it’s good news for American companies and workers because it’s going to improve our own access to one of the world’s fastest-growing markets”.

Nuland recalled that U.S. President Barack Obama’s and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and President Medvedev before him, talked about the fact that “we don’t have the volume of trade between our two countries that we should have, given the size of our economies”.

She expressed hope that this will be “a good step”, and will also bring Russia into this rules-based organisation, “help bring more global standards to the Russian economy”, and will “make it easier for our companies to work with them”.

However American companies cannot enjoy all the benefits from Russia’s accession to the WTO because of the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment.

Nuland said earlier that “the Jackson-Vanik legislation is something that now three administrations have called for the repeal of because it's outdated legislation. It had to - it was put in place because of restrictions on emigration, particularly by Soviet Jews.”

According to Nuland, “the concern now with Jackson-Vanik on the books in the context of Russia joining the WTO, as you know, is that it only hurts our own companies. It only hurts the interests of American workers and farmers and ranchers and businessmen who do business with Russia, because they won't be able to bring suit against Russia if they need to in a WTO context while this legislation's on the books, because we ourselves will be noncompliant. So that's the concern.”

U.S. senators and congressmen called for the abolition of this amendment but then they left for their constituencies and will return to Washington by the middle of September when some action may be taken. 

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