WASHINGTON, July 19 - RAPSI. The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance has approved a joint bill on withdrawing the Jackson-Vanik amendment, granting Russia normal treatment in trade, while also maintaining the Magnitsky bill provisions.
The new draft law will replace several documents concerning trade with Russia that the Senate has been discussing since middle of March, as well as the visa sanctions proposed by senator for Maryland Ben Cardin (Democrat) in 2011. The sanctions are to be placed on those Russians suspected of involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor for Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, who passed away while he was being held in jail in 2009.
The joint bill has been unanimously supported.
The withdrawal of the amendment is expected to let the United States double its exports to Russia by up to $19 billion within the next five years.
The Magnitsky bill will impose visa and economic sanctions on those Russians who the U.S. believes to have been involved in the abuse of human rights.
The Jackson-Vanik amendment was adopted by Congress in 1974 and imposed restrictions on trade with the Soviet Union. The amendment was a response to the lack of the freedom to emigrate in the Soviet Union. At moment, the amendment is still formally valid, however, since 1989, the United States has annually placed a moratorium on it and the current administration has repeatedly promised to secure its official withdrawal.