Center for American Progress

Build a Legislative Compromise to Repeal the Jackson-Vanik Amendment
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Build a Legislative Compromise to Repeal the Jackson-Vanik Amendment

The Jackson-Vanik Amendment was originally intended to support freedom of emigration from the Soviet Union and was an important policy tool when it passed in 1975. But now it serves little purpose and is a significant irritant in bilateral relations. Its repeal would allow the United States and Russia to focus on critical issues such as arms control, nonproliferation, and Iran instead of rehashing Cold War-era disputes.

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The Jackson-Vanik Amendment was originally intended to support freedom of emigration from the Soviet Union and was an important policy tool when it passed in 1975. But now it serves little purpose and is a significant irritant in bilateral relations. Its repeal would allow the United States and Russia to focus on critical issues such as arms control, nonproliferation, and Iran instead of rehashing Cold War-era disputes.

The administration can build a legislative compromise to repeal the bill by addressing Congress’s concerns. Specifically, it should include provisions protecting U.S. businesses against violations of bilateral trade agreements; creating a new government body exclusively devoted to human rights and rule-of-law issues in Russia and a task force to push for restitution of archival materials important to a U.S. religious group; and add additional reporting requirements on these issues.

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