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Russian lower house of parliament calls on U.S. Congress to lift Soviet-era trade law

Russian lower house of parliament calls on U.S. Congress to lift Soviet-era trade law

Russia's lower house of parliament on Wednesday called on the U.S. Congress to lift a Soviet-era trade law and ratify a host of international treaties and security agreements.
The State Duma, dominated by Kremlin-allied political parties, voted 368-0 to pass a resolution calling on the new Congress to cancel the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, legislation widely considered an anachronism that ties Russia's trade status to whether the country allows Jews to freely leave the country.
The newly elected Congress is controlled by Democrats, who are less receptive to free-trade agreements _ and seen as more critical of Russia's record on human rights and press freedoms _ than Republicans.
"The notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment is a relic of the era of confrontation and Russia, with complete justification, regards it as an attempt to use impermissible practice of political pressure in economic competition," the resolution said.
Soviet-era rules that restricted the emigration of Jews prompted the 1974 amendment. The rules were relaxed as the Soviet Union collapsed, along with all emigration and travel restrictions.
Russian lawmakers also called on the Congress to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban and Conventional Forces in Europe treaties, as well as other major international agreements, including the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases.
The nuclear treaty, which bans all nuclear explosions, will not enter into force until it has been ratified by all 44 states that participated in a 1996 disarmament conference and have nuclear power or research reactors. Holdouts include the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
The United States, and other NATO members, have refused to ratify an amended version of the CFE that would limit the number of troops, aircraft, tanks and other heavy non-nuclear weapons in Europe until Russia abides by its commitment to withdraw troops from the ex-Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia.
The United States' unwillingness to ratify the treaties is hindering efforts to strengthen the international agreements on security and strategic stability, the Duma resolution said.