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    Russia hopes U.S. Jackson-Vanik amendment to be abolished soon

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    Russia hopes the U.S. Congress will soon abolish the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which restricted trade with the former Soviet Union and remains in force for Russia, the economics minister said Sunday.

    HANOI, November 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia hopes the U.S. Congress will soon abolish the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which restricted trade with the former Soviet Union and remains in force for Russia, the economics minister said Sunday.

    The 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment links U.S. trade benefits, known as Normal Trade Relations (NTR), to the emigration and human rights policies of Communist or formerly Communist countries. The amendment has been lifted for many of Russia's former Communist allies.

    "Today this issue was discussed at a meeting with U.S. President George Bush. We agreed to work with the U.S. Congress, and the State Duma [the lower house of Russia's parliament] must be involved more actively in this process," German Gref said after a meeting between the Russian and U.S. presidents in the Vietnamese capital.

    Russia and the United States signed November 19 a final protocol on bilateral terms, paving the way for Moscow's accession to the world trade club. The document was signed by Russia's Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab at a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization in Hanoi.

    By signing the protocol with the United States, Russia has concluded all bilateral talks and removed the last major obstacle on its accession to the world's largest trade body. At the concluding stage, it needs to hold multilateral talks.

    Gref said Russia's multilateral talks on its accession to the WTO could be completed by July 2007.

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