Azerbaijan faces difficulty to forecast on U.S.'s cancelling Jackson-Vanik amendment

Business Materials 8 June 2009 17:40 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 8 / Trend , I.Khalilova/

Azerbaijan considers the U.S.'s attitude as wrong, where for 35 years (including 19 years of Azerbaijan's independence) the Jackson-Vanik amendment continues to operate to the country, said Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliev.

"At the time, these amendments have been introduced against the USSR, but now they are obsolete, in connection with which the Azerbaijani government has repeatedly appealed to the United States, because it is wrong in relation to Azerbaijan," said Deputy Minister.

In this regard, Mammadguliev found difficult to predict the decision and the current application to the U.S. Congress from the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Member of Committee for External Relations of the U.S. Congress House of Representatives, Congressman Robert Wexler and a member of the House of Representatives, co-chair of the working group on Azerbaijan, Congressman Bill Shuster. They presented a bill to repeal of the Jackson-Vanik amendment in relation to Azerbaijan.

Some experts and politicians believe that the Jackson-Vanik amendment prevents the dynamic development of trade and economic relations between the countries and urge the U.S. side to cancel the amendment, calling it a long obsolete.

However, regarding that Azerbaijan is in the process of joining the WTO, the United States should give the country normal trade relations. For example, it was done with regard to Ukraine and Georgia, but the amendment is still valid toward Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In 1974, upon the initiated by Congressmen Henry Jackson and Charles Vanik, the Law on Trade United States was injected the amendment, which prohibits, particularly, providing preferential treatment in trade, providing state loans and loan guarantees to countries that violate or severely restrict the rights of its citizens to emigrate. Cause was limitations on departure of Jews from USSR. The Soviet government obliged citizens willing to emigrate to pay for education in spring 1972. Sum of this compensation was so big that few people could leave Soviet Union. Amendment was adopted as punishment of USSR banning free emigration of soviet Jews to Israel. 

Today congressmen, authors of law bill consider that Azerbaijan being strategic partner of the USA in security and power engineering fulfilled its obligations concerning requirements on free emigration. The congress must remove requirements of Jackson-Vanik amendment towards Azerbaijan, they said. 

"I fully support abolition of Jackson-Vanik amendment towards Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is one of the most important strategic allies of the USA in Caucasus. It fulfilled all obligations in accordance with requirements on freedom of emigration and continues to fulfill. Adoption of this law bill will be important message on intention of the USA to strengthen cooperation with Azerbaijan in energy security, fight with terrorism, other spheres, including trade," congressmen Wexler said.   

Azerbaijan is indispensable ally in fight with terrorism, congressman said. Moreover, Azerbaijan borders with Russia in the north, with Iran in the south. Azerbaijan has one of the most rapidly developing economies and continues to play important role o trade partner of the USA in Caucasus. This law bill is important to develop our relations, Shuster said. 

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at: [email protected]