News / Europe

US House Approves Russia Trade, Rights Legislation

VOA News
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a combined bill that would upgrade U.S. trade relations with Russia, while punishing Russian officials for human rights violations.

Friday's vote of 365 to 43 is the first step in the process. The legislation must still go through a vote in the Senate and be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The package approved by the House merges two bills. One would grant "permanent normal trade relations" status to Russia, repealing a Cold War-era provision, known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, that linked favorable U.S. tariffs on Russian goods to the right of Jews in the Soviet Union to emigrate.

Congress would have to remove the trade barrier for American companies to receive all of the market benefits from Russia's recent entry into the World Trade Organization. Without the change, American business groups fear the nation will fall even further behind Europe and China in tapping into the Russian market.

The second part of the House version of the legislation would deny visas and freeze the U.S. bank assets of Russian human rights violators.

The bill is named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail after exposing a massive tax fraud scheme. The vote comes on the third anniversary of Magnitsky's death and is designed to target Russian officials involved in his detention, abuse or death.

Russia has called the human rights legislation "unfriendly and provocative" and warned the United States to expect a tough response if it is enacted. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich says the bill will have a negative effect on U.S.-Russia relations.

The White House favored legislation without the measure on human rights sanctions, but many U.S. lawmakers have said they would not support the trade bill without it.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid