A landmark achievement for human rights, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 makes favorable trade status conditional on the freedom of emigration. Some 35 years later, the amendment is still in effect for certain nations, including Russia, which has complicated the U.S.-Russia trade relationship.The Kennan Institute has organized multiple panel discussions on this pressing issue; please see the links below for more information.
At a 4 February 2010 conference co-sponsored by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and the Kennan Institute, a panel of experts explored the legacy of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and re-assessing the human rights situation in Russia today.
This edition of the Kennan Institute Occasional Paper Series, edited by F. Joseph Dresen and William E. Pomeranz, features the edited transcript of the 4 February 2010 conference on the Jackson-Vanik legislation. (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Kennan Institute Occasional Paper Series #305, 2011. PDF 80 pages.)
The Jackson-Vanik amendment to the 1974 Trade Act denied permanent normal trading relations to non- market economies that restricted emigration rights, and remains in force today for several states, including Russia. At a 3 February 2010 event cosponsored by the Kennan Institute and the Wilson Center on the Hill program, three experts discussed the legacy of Jackson- Vanik, and how the United States can contribute to improving the human rights atmosphere in Russia without reverting to the dynamics of the Cold War.
On 13 December 2011, a panel of experts presented on Capitol Hill as part of the Wilson Center on the Hill program to discuss the status of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment following Russia’s accession to the WTO. For video of the Wilson Center on the Hill briefing, including commentary from Woodrow Wilson Center CEO and President Jane Harman, please click here.
"Jackson-Vanik has become a bit of a political football whose lofty ideals at times have been dragged into more everyday trade disputes. Russia no doubt will "graduate" from Jackson-Vanik at some point in the future, most likely as part of its World Trade Organization accession process," according to Kennan Institute Deputy Director William E. Pomeranz.
While some Central and East European countries "graduated" from the amendment in recent years, Russia remains subject to an annual compliance waiver, which has complicated U.S.-Russian trade relations. Those who defend Jackson-Vanik argue it remains an important symbol of freedom and democracy. This March 2010 Centerpoint article discusses the 4 February 2010 conference on the Jackson-Vanik amendment, where experts honored the legacy and debated the relevance of Jackson-Vanik in today's world.
Experts & Staff
- Matthew Rojansky // Director, Kennan Institute
- William E. Pomeranz // Deputy Director, Kennan Institute
- F. Joseph Dresen // Program Associate
- Mary Elizabeth Malinkin // Program Associate
- Mattison Brady // Program Assistant
- Blair A. Ruble // Vice President for Programs; Director, Urban Sustainability Laboratory; and Senior Advisor, Kennan Institute