With US-Russian relations sliding from reset to regret, one way to brighten the economic and political picture is to repeal the Cold War-era Jackson-Vanik amendment, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday.
Interestingly, Lavrov said that Jackson-Vanik is more of a hindrance to American businesses than it is to Russian ones, especially with Russia set to enter the WTO in 2012.
“Russia's entry into the WTO opens broad vistas for more intensive business contacts and a quality change of the entire economic relationship, naturally, on the condition the U.S. Congress repeals the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment, which actually makes U.S.business its hostage," the minister said.
Lavrov asserted Russia’s dedication to improving bilateral relations with the United States
Russia "will continue to improve the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation and build confidence and mutual understanding. We aim for an air dialogue even on the most difficult subjects," he said.
The Russian membership in the WTO is a totally new stage of the Russian integration into the world economic system, Lavrov said, which will redound to the world’s benefit.
"We are ready to promote global economic stability, efficient solutions to crises, and strengthening of international institutions," the minister said.
In 1972, Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev introduced the so-called "diploma tax” as a means of covering the cost of would-be emigrants who had received a higher education in the Soviet Union. This move caused US Congress in 1974 to enact Jackson-Vanik, which denied ‘most-favored nation’ status for states limiting the emigration rights of their citizens.
In March, 2011, US Vice President Joe Biden urged a repeal of the law.