White House Pushes for Jackson-Vanik Repeal Without Reference to Magnitsky Bill

The U.S. Administration on June 18 said it considers it necessary to distinguish between the adoption of the Magnitsky blacklist and the cancellation of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.

A group of influential U.S. senators, including former Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, proposed in mid-March to introduce a blacklist of Russian officials allegedly linked to Hermitage Capital lawyer Magnitsky’s death, in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in November 2009, in exchange for the cancellation of the Jackson-Vanik amendment – a 1974 law which denies Russia top U.S. trading status.

Moscow has warned the U.S. Administration that replacement of Jackson-Vanik Amendment with the Magnitsky blacklist is ‘unacceptable’, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said on Sunday.

The International Committee of the Senate of the Congress will vote on the Magnitsky bill on Tuesday.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, held a meeting on the sidelines of G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico on June 18. President Obama again called for the U.S. Congress to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment. He said the move would stimulate U.S.-Russia trade.

“Our position is – we want the Jackson-Vanik amendment repealed. We want to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia, because we believe that it is in the interests of American businesses, American workers and it will help create jobs in the United States. And we would like it to be done separately,” Deputy National Security Adviser for U.S. Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, said at a briefing in Los Cabos.

“On commercial ties, we’re actually in agreement in seeking greater access to Russian markets for U.S. businesses, on seeking the repeal of Jackson-Vanik, for instance, to facilitate that effort. So I think there are areas of agreement and areas where we’d like to make progress, even though we recognize there have been difficulties and tensions in aspects of the relationship in recent weeks,” Rhodes added.


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