Bush approves repeal of Jackson-Vanik amendment for Ukraine

U.S. President George W. Bush signed a bill March 23 repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment for Ukraine. The bill, which was already approved by the U.S. Congress in a bid to normalize trade relations with Ukraine, repealed an amendment to the 1974 Trade Act that imposed sanctions on nations for failure to comply with freedom of emigration requirements. March 8, the House of Representatives passed legislation to graduate Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. The legislation grants Ukraine normal trade relations status with the United States. The final vote results were 417 votes cast in favor of the bill, 2 against, and 3 abstentions. Senate approved this decision. The president said the U.S. supported Ukraine’s intention to join the World Trade Organization and would help complete the remaining stages of the process as soon as possible. Ukraine has signed protocols with all WTO members, including with the United States in March 2006, on access to its commodities and services markets. The EU declared Ukraine a market economy at the end of 2005, and the U.S. followed suit in February 2006. The Jackson-Vanik amendment, which restricted trade with the former Soviet Union, has been lifted for many of its former targets, but remains in force for Russia.