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FACTBOX-Details of U.S. bill on Russia trade, human rights

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 13 Dec 2012 06:39 PM
Author: Reuters
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Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to soon sign legislation enabling the United States to have full World Trade Organization relations with Russia and, in a provision that has angered Moscow, also punish Russian human rights violators.

Russia joined the WTO on Aug. 22.

Here are details of the legislation:

TRADE PROVISIONS

* Establishes "permanent normal trade relations" with Russia by authorizing Obama to determine that a Cold War-era provision known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment no longer applies to Russia. The 1974 provision tied favorable U.S. tariff rates to Jewish emigration from the former Soviet Union and is at odds with U.S. obligations under the WTO.

* Directs the U.S. trade representative to report annually on how well Russia is meeting its WTO commitments and its progress toward joining WTO agreements on technology goods and government procurement, and requires when appropriate a plan of actions to prod Moscow to achieve those goals.

* Directs the USTR to report annually on its enforcement actions to make sure Russia abides by WTO rules.

* Directs the USTR and the secretary of state to report annually on the measures they have taken to promote the rule of law in Russia to support U.S. investment.

* Requires the Commerce Department to establish a hotline and secure website to allow U.S. companies to report on Russian pressure to extract bribes. Requires the commerce secretary to report annually on such bribery and corruption.

* Requires the USTR to report annually on any Russian laws, policies or practices that deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. digital trade.

* Requires the USTR to pursue further reductions in Russian trade barriers by trying to negotiate pacts requiring Moscow to accept U.S. food safety measures as equivalent to its own and to better protect U.S. copyrights, patents and trademarks.

HUMAN RIGHTS PROVISIONS

* Directs the president to compile, publish and regularly update a list of individuals who he has determined are responsible for, or have benefited financially from, the detention, abuse or death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption lawyer who died in a Russian jail in 2009.

* Directs the president to also include on the list individuals responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture or other human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by Russian officials.

* Allows certain members of Congress to provide information on individuals they think should be included on the list.

* Directs the president to submit the first list to Congress within 120 days of enactment of the law.

* Requires the list be unclassified and published in the Federal Register, but allows for the president to submit some names to Congress in a classified form if he or she determines it is in the national security interest of the United States.

* Denies U.S. visas to individuals on the list, although the secretary of state could waive that provision for national security interests or if entry of any individual is necessary for the United States to comply with its commitments as the host of U.N. headquarters in New York.

* Bars individuals on the list from banking in the United States by freezing their assets, but grants the secretary of treasury a national security waiver.

* Directs the secretary of state and the secretary of treasury to report annually to Congress on actions they have taken under the act. (Sources: Bill text, Congressional Research Service summary) (Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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