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Astana, Kazakhstan • 02 August, 2023 | 10:12

US Senator Calls for Lifting Kazakhstan-US Trade Restrictions

The 1974 Jackson-Vanik bill denied full U.S. trade relations with the Soviet republics

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U.S. Senator Chris Murphy called on Congress to repeal Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions for Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan and grant these countries permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status, allowing for free trade with the United States, QazMonitor reports.

In an op-ed for The Diplomat, Senator Murphy highlighted the significant hindrance the Jackson-Vanik amendment poses to American influence in Central Asia. Passed in 1974 and targeted at the USSR and its restrictive immigration policies, this amendment denies full U.S. trade relations to countries that previously restricted emigration rights for Soviet Jews and other minority groups.

Post-Soviet countries have made concerted efforts to lift this restrictive measure after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and, in this sense, the 1974 amendment remains one of the last vestiges of the Cold War in Central Asia.

Senator Murphy added that granting PNTR status to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan is a crucial step forward, as the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry—which originally championed the Jackson-Vanik bill—also supports this move. Currently, the coalition acknowledges the positive diplomatic relations these countries maintain with Israel and their commitment to preventing state-sanctioned antisemitism, allowing Jewish citizens to emigrate freely.

As of May 23, the Kazakhstan Permanent Normal Trade Relations Act of 2023 has been introduced in House.

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