Jackson-Vanik amendment
Overview
 
The Jackson–Vanik amendment is a 1974 provision in United States federal law, intended to affect U.S. trade relations with countries with non-market economies
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

 (originally, countries of the Communist bloc
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

) that restrict freedom of emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 and other human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

. It is believed that it was a response to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's "diploma taxes" levied on Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 attempting to emigrate, although amendment doesn't specifically mention Jews and the tax applied to all Soviet citizens, not only Jews.

The amendment, named after its major co-sponsors Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson
Henry M. Jackson
Henry Martin "Scoop" Jackson was a U.S. Congressman and Senator from the state of Washington from 1941 until his death...

 of Washington in the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 and Charles Vanik
Charles Vanik
Charles Albert Vanik was a Democratic politician from Ohio. He served in the United States House of Representatives....

 of Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 in the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, both Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, is contained in Title IV of the 1974 Trade Act.
Encyclopedia
The Jackson–Vanik amendment is a 1974 provision in United States federal law, intended to affect U.S. trade relations with countries with non-market economies
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

 (originally, countries of the Communist bloc
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

) that restrict freedom of emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 and other human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

. It is believed that it was a response to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's "diploma taxes" levied on Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 attempting to emigrate, although amendment doesn't specifically mention Jews and the tax applied to all Soviet citizens, not only Jews.

The amendment, named after its major co-sponsors Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson
Henry M. Jackson
Henry Martin "Scoop" Jackson was a U.S. Congressman and Senator from the state of Washington from 1941 until his death...

 of Washington in the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 and Charles Vanik
Charles Vanik
Charles Albert Vanik was a Democratic politician from Ohio. He served in the United States House of Representatives....

 of Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 in the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, both Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, is contained in Title IV of the 1974 Trade Act. The amendment passed both houses of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 unanimously. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 signed the bill
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 into law with the adopted amendment on January 3, 1975. It remains to be valid, though it has been regularly granted a waiver vis-a-vis the Russian Federation. In 2011, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 urged a repeal of the law.

Content

The amendment denies most favored nation status to certain countries with non-market economies that restrict emigration, which is considered a human right
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

. Permanent normal trade relations can be extended to a country subject to the law only if the President determines that it complies with the freedom of emigration requirements of the amendment. However, the President has the authority to grant a yearly waiver to the provisions of Jackson-Vanik, and these waivers were granted to the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 starting in the late 1970s and later to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

.

Background

In 1972 as the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 and the ongoing Arab–Israeli conflict
Arab–Israeli conflict
The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to political tensions and open hostilities between the Arab peoples and the Jewish community of the Middle East. The modern Arab-Israeli conflict began with the rise of Zionism and Arab Nationalism towards the end of the nineteenth century, and intensified with the...

 were intensifying, the Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 government imposed the so-called "diploma tax" on would-be emigrants who received a higher education in the USSR. While the professed justification for this tax was to repay state expenses for public education, this measure was designed to combat the brain drain
Brain drain
Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

 caused by the growing emigration of Soviet Jews and other members of the intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

 to the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

.

This development caused international protests. Twenty-one United States Nobel Laureates issued a public statement condemning it as a "massive violation of human rights." The Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

 soon revoked the tax but imposed additional limitations, effectively choking off emigration, even for family reunification
Family reunification
Family reunification is a recognized reason for immigration in many countries. The presence of one or more family members in a certain country, therefore, enables the rest of the family to immigrate to that country as well....

. A case could languish for years in the OVIR (ОВиР) department of the MVD. An often-cited but rarely explained official ground for the refusal to issue an emigration visa
Refusenik (Soviet Union)
Refusenik was an unofficial term for individuals, typically but not exclusively, Soviet Jews, who were denied permission to emigrate abroad by the authorities of the former Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc...

 were "national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 reasons."

Effects

At first the Jackson–Vanik amendment did little to help free Soviet Jewry
Movement to Free Soviet Jewry
The Movement to Free Soviet Jewry was an international human rights campaign that advocated for the right of Jews in the Soviet Union to emigrate....

. The number of exit visas declined after the passing of the amendment, as the USSR felt the external pressure was harming its credibility. However, in the late-1980s Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 agreed to comply with the protocols of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Since 1975 more than 500,000 refugees, many of whom were Jews, evangelical Christians
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

, and Catholics from the former Soviet Union, have been resettled in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. An estimated one million Soviet Jews have immigrated to Israel in that time.

Jackson-Vanik also led to great changes within the Soviet Union. Other ethnic groups subsequently demanded the right to emigrate, and the ruling Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 had to face the fact that there was widespread dissatisfaction with its governance.

Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

 wrote in his 2004 book The Case for Democracy
The Case for Democracy
The Case for Democracy is a foreign policy manifesto written by one-time Soviet political prisoner and former Israeli Member of the Knesset, Natan Sharansky. Sharansky's friend Ron Dermer is the book's co-author...

:

"...Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 saw Jackson's amendment as an attempt to undermine plans to smoothly carve up the geopolitical pie between the superpowers. It was. Jackson believed that the Soviets had to be confronted, not appeased.

Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He earned renown as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the...

 was another vociferous opponent of détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

. He thought it swept the Soviet's human rights record under the rug in the name of improved superpower relations.... One message he would consistently convey to these foreigners (the press) was that human rights must never be considered a humanitarian issue alone. For him, it was also a matter of international security. As he succinctly put it: "A country that does not respect the rights of its own people will not respect the rights of its neighbors." (p.3)

Ukraine

On December 6, 2005 the Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 (ADL) urged the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 to delay approval of Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

's graduation from the amendment. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman
Abraham Foxman
Abraham H. Foxman is the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.-Early life:Foxman, an only son, was born in Baranovichi, just months after the USSR took the town from Poland in the Nazi-Soviet Pact and incorporated it into the BSSR. The town is now in Belarus...

 wrote: "We expect more from democratic states than we do from totalitarian ones. This year alone has seen a steep increase in acts of violence and vandalism against Jews across Ukraine. There have been attempts to ban everything from Jewish organizations to Jewish holy texts. The university MAUP... actively promotes anti-Semitism of the most vicious kind."

Relevancy

Jackson-Vanik is still in force and applies to Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, among other countries. Critics of the amendment argue that with the end of the Cold War, Jackson-Vanik is a now merely counterproductive trade discrimination.

In 2011, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 urged a repeal of the law.

Jackson-Vanik and the People's Republic of China

Until the accession of the PRC to the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 in December 2001 the PRC was covered by the provisions of Jackson-Vanik. Although the President of the United States, starting in the late 1970s, used the waiver provisions of the amendment to grant normal trade relations
Normal Trade Relations
The status of permanent normal trade relations is a legal designation in the United States for free trade with a foreign nation. In the U.S. the name was changed from most favored nation to PNTR in 1998....

 trade status, the existence of the amendment meant that there was a congressional effort to overturn this waiver each year, creating a yearly controversy especially during the 1990s after the Tiananmen protests of 1989. Congress specifically removed the PRC from coverage by Jackson-Vanik in the late 1990s as part of its entry into the World Trade Organization, as the provisions of Jackson-Vanik were inconsistent with WTO rules.

U.S. legal challenge

In April 2011, American University in Moscow professor Eduard Lozansky and former Reagan administration
Reagan Administration
The United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989....

 official Antony Salvia filed a federal lawsuit in Washington D.C. against the Obama administration arguing the law is illegal.

External links

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