Obama to push for Jackson-Vanik cancellation in 2012
The Obama administration will make cancellation of the Cold War-era Jackson-Vanik amendment, which imposes restrictions on Russian-U.S. trade, a priority in 2012, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle said on Monday, RIA Novosti reported.
"Our president [Barack Obama] said that the time has come to cancel the long-standing Jackson-Vanik amendment," Beyrle told journalists in Moscow.
The amendment, he said, "in no way restricts U.S.-Russian trade," but "we understand that it is still a relic, a remainder of the old Cold War mentality."
It is "unlikely" that the amendment will be cancelled this year, but "our president said it was his priority to secure the cancellation of this amendment by the [U.S.] Congress" in 2012, he added.
The Jackson-Vanik amendment was imposed in 1974 against countries with non-market economies and restricted emigration rights.
Moscow has repeatedly said that the amendment was an "anachronism" hindering Russia's World Trade Organization accession bid.
After talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in mid-November, Obama promised to begin consultations with the Congress to drop the amendment.
The U.S. government has only once tried to cancel it, in 2002, when President George Bush asked Congress to do so. However, Russia banned U.S. poultry imports soon afterwards, prompting an end to discussion of the issue.