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US Congress returning to discussion of trade relations with Russia

November 13, 2012, 4:59 UTC+3

U.S. exports to Russia stood at $ 8.3 billion in 2011 and Russia occupied the 31st position on the list of largest importers of American products

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WASHINGTON, November 13 (Itar-Tass) — U.S. Congress on Tuesday returns to the problem of normalization of trade relations with Russia.

A proposal to lift the notorious Jackson-Vanik Amendment /JVA/ from Russia and Moldova will be considered at a session of the House of Representatives committee in charge of legislative initiatives.

It is expected that the bill on the JVA will be tied up to the so-called Sergei Magnitsky Act that deals with the observance of human rights and struggle with corruption in Russia.

Spokespeople for the committee said the texts of the two documents will be merged into one.

Development of trade relations with Russia will be one of the top items on the Congress’s agenda after the presidential election and the House is expected to have a vote on it already this week to as to furnish the U.S. exporters with a broader access to the Russian markets, USA Today newspaper wrote Monday.

After the voting in the House of Representatives, the issue is likely to go over to the Senate.

According to USA Today, U.S. exports to Russia stood at $ 8.3 billion in 2011 and Russia occupied the 31st position on the list of largest importers of American products.

The newspaper recalled the fact that the Jackson-Vanik Amendment is a graphic asset of the Cold War era while now Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization.

U.S. Congress has been discussing a revocation of the JVA, which was adopted in 1974 to tie up the progress of trade with Russia to the demands to open up the doors for the Jews seeking to leave the USSR.

A relevant committee of the House of Representatives approved a bill on lifting the JVA in July 2012 but the chairman of the committee Dave Kemp said the document would be tied up to the Magnitsky bill later on.

The U.S. business community has given a very reassuring response to the reports that the House of Representatives is resuming discussions of lifting the JVA. For instance, Edward Verona, the president of the American-Russian Business Council has expressed satisfaction with the readiness of the House leaders to hold voting on the establishing of normal relations with Russia.

The lifting of the JVA is not a present for Russia but, rather, an important step in the interests of U.S. businesses, said John Engler, the president of the Business Roundtable that 250 U.S. corporations.

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