Repeal of Jackson-Venik Bill for Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan Depends on US: say US and German Experts

Repeal of Jackson-Venik Bill for Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan Depends on US: say US and German Experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 31 January / Trend corr. A.Gasimova, F.Rzayev, E.Huseynov / The repeal of Jackson-Venik Bill with respect to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, which limits Washington's trade relations with the post-Soviet countries, will depend on the course of the presidential elections in the United States.

Richard Lugar, a US Senator, submitted to the Senate, a draft law to revoke the Jackson-Venik bill with respect to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The document envisages the establishment of normal foreign trade with the two countries. They include draft laws enabling the US President to cancel the Jackson-Venik bill for Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, as well as to apply a non-discriminated regime (normal trade relations) for goods delivered from these countries.

The repeal of the Jackson-Venik bill will depend on the course of the presidential elections in the United States, Svante Kornell, the American expert stated. Currently the Democratic Party reigns in the United States, whereas Lugar is a Republican. To adopt this section the Republicans need the Democrats' support," Kornell, the John Hopkins University Director for Central Asia and Caucasus, said in a telephone discussion with Trend on 30 January.

The expert admits that Lugar is a respected member of the US Senate and if he succeeds to find a sponsor among the Democrats and undertakes this work together with them, then the draft repeal of the Jackson-Venik bill is fully possible.

"It will be an important step with respect to the United States and Azerbaijan, because there is the feeling in Azerbaijan that the United States attaches great importance to problems in the Caucasus region. From this aspect it will be a symbolic step to display interest towards Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan," Kornell said.

The Jackson-Venik Bill to the US Law on Trade dated to 1974, blocks any access to official programs on loans allocated to countries which restrict emigration. The list included all former Soviet countries - present CIS member-countries. Georgia and Kyrgyzstan were excluded from the Amendment in 2000.

The existence of the Jackson-Venick bill is actually a form of harassment on all post-Soviet countries, says Alexander Rar, a leading German political expert on CIS problems. "Sanctions against the USSR during the cold war were grounded, and the bill was adopted in order to make the Kremlin allow the Soviet Jews wishing to leave the USSR to return to their historical motherland in Israel," Rar, the Director of Program for Russia and CIS countries, told Trend on 30 January.

Almost 30 years have passed since the adoption of the restrictions and now some Jews are again returning to the democratic CIS countries for economic reasons. The US Congress did not repeal sanctions to have original additional source of impacting these countries, Rar considers. He is certain that the bill will become ineffective after the entry of CIS countries to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Lugar visited Azerbaijan and several CIS member-countries at the beginning of January and discussed the issue with state officials.

The United States has offered Azerbaijan expert support in joining the WTO.

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