‘Case of the Week’ 2: Graduate Russia from Jackson-Vanik

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1AC: Graduate Russia from Jackson-Vanik

By Alex Macdonald

When I was two years old I wasn’t allowed to pour my own drinks, but by the time I was six, my parents had graduated me from that old rule and I could now pour them for myself. Growth moves you to the next level…except in the case of the government. Our government has maintained an archaic law that is both damaging to our relations with Russia and is shackling economic opportunity. For this reason we are Resolved: that the United States federal government should significantly reform its policy toward Russia. But before we dive into the case, let me provide you some key…

Definitions:

Sources are available in Cross Examination.

Significant: “Having or likely to have influence or effect.”

(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Accessed June 2010, “Significant Merriam-Webster”, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/significant)

Reform: “To change for the better.”

(American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Accessed June 2010, “Reform – yahoo”, http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/reform

Now let’s look at the…

Background: of our case, from the Council on Foreign Relations in July 2009…

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foriegn Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

The Jackson-Vanik Amendment, an addition to the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, was crafted to put pressure on the Soviet Union for human rights abuses but has become a symbol of lingering tensions in the U.S.-Russia relationship. In order to receive the benefits of normal trade relations with the United States, nonmarket economies, which originally meant Communist economies, must comply with free emigration policies. Though the United States denies normal trade relations treatment only to Cuba and North Korea, U.S. trade relations with eight former Soviet states still fall under the jurisdiction of Jackson-Vanik. These countries–Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan–are deemed either compliant with the emigration requirement or provisionally exempt. Yet many experts assert that the amendment is an irritant in U.S. relations with these countries, particularly Russia, and has outgrown its relevance.

We end this costly anachronism in the…

Plan:

Agency: Congress, president, and any necessary federal agencies

Mandates: 1) Graduate Russia from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment

2) Grant Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR)

Funding: No funding is necessary since this plan is purely legislative

Enforcement: US federal government

Timeline: Immediately

Now that let’s look more in depth at the reasons why an Affirmative ballot is justified in…

Justifications:

1. No longer necessary

A. Compliance since 1991

Dr. Richard Weitz (PhD in political science from Harvard, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute), May 12, 2010, “The Bell Tolls for Jackson-Vanik Amendment?”, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61052

These days, the amendment — named after its sponsors, Sen. Henry Jackson and Rep. Charles Vanik — has little practical effect on US-Russian relations. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, US presidents have annually found the Russian Federation to be in compliance with Jackson-Vanik’s provisions, thus enabling the maintenance of normal, bilateral trade relations. Russian leaders nevertheless are eager to officially remove the amendment’s stigma.

B. Ancient Relic

Dr. Richard Weitz (PhD in political science from Harvard, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute), May 12, 2010, “The Bell Tolls for Jackson-Vanik Amendment?”, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61052

Speakers at the April 27 House hearing, regardless of party affiliation, generally believed the amendment had outlived its usefulness. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, stressed “the need to sustain and enhance the positive trends that have developed over the past year” in Russian-American relations, which he described as greater Russian cooperation on Afghanistan, the new START Treaty, and the improvement in Russian public attitudes about the United States. Advocates of repeal described the amendment as an anachronism, given the changes in Russian policy since the mid-1970s. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, urged his congressional colleagues to discard what he described as an “ancient relic of the Cold War.” “If we are to have peace in this world …we have got to have a good relationship with Russia,” Rohrabacher added.

2. Strengthen Relations

A. Russia wants repeal

Congressional Research Service, April 20, 2006, “Russia’s Accession to the WTO”, http://www.global-trade-law.com/CRS.Russia%27s%20Accession%20to%20the%20WTO%20(2006).pdf

Russian political leaders have continually pressed the United States to “graduate” Russia from Jackson-Vanik coverage entirely. They see the amendment as a Cold War relic that does not reflect Russia’s new stature as a fledgling democracy and market economy. Moreover, Russian leaders argue that Russia has implemented freedom-of-emigration policies since the fall of the communist government, making the Jackson-Vanik conditions inappropriate and unnecessary.

B. Repeal = increased US-Russia relations

David C. Speedie (Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council’s US Global Engagement program, former professor of English and Drama at St Andrew’s University, Scotland), March 30, 2010, “Jackson-Vanik: a Bridge to the 20th Century”, http://www.cceia.org/resources/articles_papers_reports/0046.html

All this notwithstanding, J[ackson] V[anik] endures, a Cold War anachronism and a millstone for Russia’s WTO prospects and for U.S.-Russia business dealings. Putin most certainly had the amendment in mind when wryly reflecting that the Obama administration’s “reset the button” commitment to improving U.S.-Russia relations had “already improved the atmosphere but not yet the substance.” The substantive dialogue would greatly be enhanced by repeal of J[ackson] – V[anik]; to the extent that it had a strategic purpose and effect, these have passed, and it is time for it to be consigned to history.

3. Economy

A. Jackson-Vanik has hurt US-Russia trade

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, asserts that Jackson-Vanik has contributed to making the United States a “least favored trading partner” of Russia, pointing out that only 4 percent of Russia’s trade is with the United States.

B. PNTR (permanent normal trade relations) = stable business climate

Congressional Research Service, February 24, 2010, “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties”, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS21123_20100224.pdf

Granting Russia permanent and unconditional NTR status will have little direct impact on U.S.- Russian trade. Russian imports have entered the United States on a NTR or MFN basis since 1992. The initiative would be a political symbol of Russia’s treatment as a “normal” country in U.S. trade, further distancing U.S.-Russian relations from the Cold War. It would also be a step in the direction of Russia’s accession to the WTO. For investors and other business people, permanent NTR may mean a more stable climate for doing business.

C. Threatens American businesses

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

“As WTO accession negotiations progress for Russia, the largest economy still outside the organization, the question of what to do about Jackson-Vanik becomes pressing. CFR Senior Fellow Stephen Sestanovich says that keeping Russia under Jackson-Vanik after the country accedes would be “the worst outcome for American businesses,” which would then not benefit from Russia’s market access commitments and could not utilize WTO dispute resolution mechanisms.”

We’re refusing to let a ten year old pour her own drinks. At the end of the day the problem is that we’re treating a ten year old like she’s two, we’re not recognizing growth. Russia has dramatically improved since the fall of Communism and it is wrong and damaging to continue treating them as if they were still the racist, totalitarian country they were 30 years ago. We ask you to put this anachronism to rest and vote Affirmative. I am now ready for Cross-Examination.

Backup: Jackson-Vanik

INHERENCY

Background: Jackson-Vanik Amendment

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

The Jackson-Vanik Amendment, an addition to the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, was crafted to put pressure on the Soviet Union for human rights abuses but has become a symbol of lingering tensions in the U.S.-Russia relationship. In order to receive the benefits of normal trade relations with the United States, nonmarket economies, which originally meant Communist economies, must comply with free emigration policies. Though the United States denies normal trade relations treatment only to Cuba and North Korea, U.S. trade relations with eight former Soviet states still fall under the jurisdiction of Jackson-Vanik. These countries–Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan–are deemed either compliant with the emigration requirement or provisionally exempt. Yet many experts assert that the amendment is an irritant in U.S. relations with these countries, particularly Russia, and has outgrown its relevance.

Info: What are US-Russia imports and exports?

Congressional Research Service, February 24, 2010, “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties”, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS21123_20100224.pdf

U.S. exports to and imports from Russia are heavily concentrated in a few commodity categories. The top five 2-digit Harmonized System (HS) categories of imports, accounted for about 70% of total U.S. imports from Russia and consisted of precious stones and metals, inorganic chemicals, mineral fuels, aluminum, iron and steel, and fish and other seafood. About 60% of U.S. exports to Russia consisted of products in three 2-digit HS categories: aircraft, machinery (mostly parts for oil and gas production equipment), and meat (mostly poultry).3

Inherent Barrier: Congress resisting

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

Despite the potential gains, whether symbolic or quantifiable, of graduating Russia from Jackson-Vanik or eliminating it altogether, Congress has resisted both options because of several factors unrelated to the amendment’s original intent.

Inherent Barrier: Details

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

Congress has discussed the possibility of graduating Russia from Jackson-Vanik several times in the past decade, but each effort to do so has been foiled by trade and foreign policy considerations. Mark B. Levin, the executive director of NCSJ, an advocacy organization for Jews of the former Soviet Union, says Congress has been reluctant to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia without seeing evidence of progress on certain human rights and foreign policy complaints. Special interest groups’ concerns over Russia’s compliance with trade regulations have not helped the case for graduation, he says.

Inherent barrier: PNTR (Permanant Normal Trade Relations) status requires law change

Congressional Research Service, February 24, 2010, “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties”, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS21123_20100224.pdf

Granting Russia PNTR status requires a change in law because Russia is prohibited from receiving unconditional and permanent NTR under Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974, which includes the so-called Jackson-Vanik amendment.

Russia has been in compliance since 1991

Dr. Richard Weitz (PhD in political science from Harvard, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute), May 12, 2010, “The Bell Tolls for Jackson-Vanik Amendment?”, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61052

These days, the amendment — named after its sponsors, Sen. Henry Jackson and Rep. Charles Vanik — has little practical effect on US-Russian relations. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, US presidents have annually found the Russian Federation to be in compliance with Jackson-Vanik’s provisions, thus enabling the maintenance of normal, bilateral trade relations. Russian leaders nevertheless are eager to officially remove the amendment’s stigma.

Response: No longer necessary to protect American markets

Dr. Richard Weitz (PhD in political science from Harvard, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute), May 12, 2010, “The Bell Tolls for Jackson-Vanik Amendment?”, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61052

Stephen Sestanovich, a former American diplomat and currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the amendment “has a proud and honorable past, but it has sunk into a state of purposelessness and confusion.” He said that it was now primarily maintained as a “trade weapon” because “many Members of Congress seem to believe that by keeping the amendment in force, [the United States] can assure better treatment of American products in the Russian market.” Sestanovich suggested other techniques would likely prove more effective in achieving the same end.

Response: Linking a repeal to concessions would hurt relations

Dr. Richard Weitz (PhD in political science from Harvard, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute), May 12, 2010, “The Bell Tolls for Jackson-Vanik Amendment?”, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61052

Some of those present at the hearing suggested the amendment could still be used as leverage against Russia. Rep. Brad J. Sherman, a California Democrat, said that in return for the repeal of the amendment, Washington should get “explicit clear agreements for meaningful steps taken by Russia.” Some speakers, as well as members of Congress and business representatives, expressed a desire to link repeal to further Russian trade concessions, such as expanded access for American agricultural products, or improved protection for US intellectual property. Delahunt countered that conditioning the repeal of Jackson-Vanik could undermine diplomatic relations. “We should not move the goal post and ask for further concessions that are irrelevant to the amendment,” he said. “Changes [to] the rules of the game” would undermine US credibility and breed Russian resentment, he added.

A repeal essential for permanant normal trade relations

White House Press Release, December 1, 2001, “Jackson-Vanik and Russia Fact Sheet”, http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011113-16.html

Since 1994, Russia has been found in compliance with the Amendment’s freedom of emigration requirements.  It continues to be subject to semi-annual compliance reviews.  Ending the application of the Jackson-Vanik provisions to Russia requires legislation by Congress.  This is a prerequisite to the extending unconditional or permanent normal trade relations to Russia.

Russia has NTR but not PNTR

Congressional Research Service, February 24, 2010, “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties”, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS21123_20100224.pdf

While Russia remains subject to the Jackson-Vanik amendment, some of the other former Soviet republics have been granted permanent and unconditional NTR. For example Kyrgyzstan and Georgia received PNTR in 2000, and Armenia received PNTR in January 2005. Perhaps what has irked Russian leaders greatly is that the United States granted permanent and unconditional NTR status to Ukraine in 2006.

SIGNIFICANCE

Jackson-Vanik a principle reason for tensions

Prof. Anders Aslund (PhD from Oxford, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute), 2007, “Russia’s capitalist revolution: why market reform succeeded and democracy failed”, http://books.google.com/books?id=rAYEwq45fioC (page 268)

Gradually Russia has drifted away from the United States and the European Union, and Western influence over Russia has waned. In 2004, Putin turned outright hostile to the West. After the Beslan massacre, Putin made a vague but ominous statement about hostile forces, implicitly reffering to the United States as wanting “to tear from us a ‘juicy piece of pie'” (Putin 2004c). The Orange Revelution provided the tipping point. Russia’s policy united the United States and the European Union against Russia, which accused the West of subversion in Ukraine. It was followed by Western protests over the restrictive Russian draft law on nongovernmental organizations in the fall of 2005, and Gazprom’s disruption of gas deliveries to Europe through Ukraine in January 2006. Official Russian spokesmen blame the enlargement of NATO to the Baltic states and the US failure to eliminate the Jackson-Vanik amendment’s potential (but implausible) threat of trade sanctions.

US-Russia relations essential

The Commission on U.S. Policy toward Russia (a joint project of The Nixon Center and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a research center within Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government), March 2009, “THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR U.S. POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA”, http://www.nixoncenter.org/RussiaReport09.pdf (page i)

Securing America’s vital national interests in the complex, interconnected, and interdependent world of the twenty-first century requires deep and meaningful cooperation with other governments. The challenges-stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, defeating terrorist networks, rebuilding the global economy, and ensuring energy security for the United States and others-are enormous. And few nations could make more of a difference to our success than Russia, with its vast arsenal of nuclear weapons, its strategic location spanning Europe and Asia, its considerable energy resources, and its status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Rapid and effective action to strengthen U.S.-Russian relations is critically important to advancing U.S. national interests.

Repeal = reset button in US-Russia relations

David C. Speedie (Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council’s US Global Engagement program, former professor of English and Drama at St Andrew’s University, Scotland), March 30, 2010, “Jackson-Vanik: a Bridge to the 20th Century”, http://www.cceia.org/resources/articles_papers_reports/0046.html

All this notwithstanding, J[ackson] V[anik] endures, a Cold War anachronism and a millstone for Russia’s WTO prospects and for U.S.-Russia business dealings. Putin most certainly had the amendment in mind when wryly reflecting that the Obama administration’s “reset the button” commitment to improving U.S.-Russia relations had “already improved the atmosphere but not yet the substance.” The substantive dialogue would greatly be enhanced by repeal of JV; to the extent that it had a strategic purpose and effect, these have passed, and it is time for it to be consigned to history.

Key barrier to Russia’s entrance to WTO

RIA Novosti (Russian International News Agency) (Russian state-owned news agency), May 18, 2010, “Russia still insists on abolishing Jackson-Vanik amendment”, http://en.rian.ru/world/20100518/159057521.html

Former U.S. Representative Charles Vanik along with his fellow anti-communist politician Sen. Henry Jackson sponsored the Jackson-Vanik amendment denying normal U.S. trade relations to countries with non-market economies that restrict their citizens’ right to emigrate. The controversial amendment is still applied to Russia, and has proved a key barrier for the country’s entry to the World Trade Organization.

Hinders Russia‘s WTO bid

RIA Novosti (Russian International News Agency) (Russian state-owned news agency), May 18, 2010, “Russia still insists on abolishing Jackson-Vanik amendment”, http://en.rian.ru/world/20100518/159057521.html

Putin repeatedly said that the Cold War-era amendment that restricts U.S. trade with Russia was an “anachronism” hindering Russia’s World Trade Organization accession bid

Jackson-Vanik prevented expansion of US-Russia trade

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, asserts that Jackson-Vanik has contributed to making the United States a “least favored trading partner” of Russia, pointing out that only 4 percent of Russia’s trade is with the United States.

Hurts American businesses

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

As WTO accession negotiations progress for Russia, the largest economy still outside the organization, the question of what to do about Jackson-Vanik becomes pressing. CFR Senior Fellow Stephen Sestanovich says that keeping Russia under Jackson-Vanik after the country accedes would be “the worst outcome for American businesses,” which would then not benefit from Russia’s market access commitments and could not utilize WTO dispute resolution mechanisms.

Prevented increased economic relations

Thorsten Nestmann (Ph.D. from the University of Mainz, Deutsche Bank/AICGS Fellow and a country risk analyst at Deutsche Bank Research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.), July 29, 2009, “US-Russia Economic Relations”, http://www.consensuseconomics.com/News_and_Articles/US_Russia_Economic_Relations411.htm

US-based Russia experts as well as the US-Russia Business Council highlight several other institutional impediments weighing on US-Russia economic relations.10 Reducing these would need a more active engagement of the new US administration. First, the US does not grant Russia the benefits of permanent normal trade relations (NTR) status, i.e. Russia does not, unlike the vast majority of other US trading partners, enjoy non-discriminatory treatment in comparison to other trading partners. This is because Russia is still subject to restrictions under the Jackson-Vanik amendment included in the Trade Act of 1974.11 While Russia has been granted temporary (rather than permanent) NTR status since 1992, it has not, unlike other former Soviet Republics, fully graduated from Jackson-Vanik coverage. Against this background, Russia has been calling for the US to remove the Jackson-Vanik restrictions and to grant Russia permanent rather than temporary NTR status. The US Congress has, however, not passed the necessary legislation. It is very difficult to assess or even quantify the related impact on US-Russia economic relations. In fact there have not been any restrictions due to Jackson-Vanik in place for almost two decades as the US president has waived these restrictions every year. However, the fact that Jackson-Vanik has been kept may have weighed negatively on US companies’ sentiment towards Russia. At the same time, Jackson-Vanik may have deterred and irritated Russian politicians and the Russian business community, undermining a more active economic exchange.

SOLVENCY/ADVOCACY

Advocacy: Both Parties

Dr. Richard Weitz (PhD in political science from Harvard, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute), May 12, 2010, “The Bell Tolls for Jackson-Vanik Amendment?”, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61052

Speakers at the April 27 House hearing, regardless of party affiliation, generally believed the amendment had outlived its usefulness. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, stressed “the need to sustain and enhance the positive trends that have developed over the past year” in Russian-American relations, which he described as greater Russian cooperation on Afghanistan, the new START Treaty, and the improvement in Russian public attitudes about the United States. Advocates of repeal described the amendment as an anachronism, given the changes in Russian policy since the mid-1970s. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, urged his congressional colleagues to discard what he described as an “ancient relic of the Cold War.” “If we are to have peace in this world …we have got to have a good relationship with Russia,” Rohrabacher added.

Advocacy: The Commission on US policy toward Russia

The Commission on U.S. Policy toward Russia (a joint project of The Nixon Center and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a research center within Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government), March 2009, “THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR U.S. POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA”, http://www.nixoncenter.org/RussiaReport09.pdf (page ii)

Our recommendations are both substantive and procedural. Most importantly, the United States must: * Seek to make Russia an American partner in dealing with Iran and the broader problem of emerging nuclear powers. * Work jointly to strengthen the international nonproliferation regime with the goal of allowing for wider development of nuclear power while establishing tighter limits on nuclearweapons technologies. * Pursue closer cooperation with Russia against terrorism and in stabilizing Afghanistan, including strengthening supply routes for NATO operations there. ii * Take a new look at missile-defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic and make a genuine effort to develop a cooperative approach to the shared threat from Iranian or other missiles. * Accept that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ready for NATO membership and work closely with U.S. allies to develop options other than NATO membership to demonstrate a commitment to their sovereignty. * Launch a serious dialogue on arms control, including on the extension of the START I treaty as well as further reduction of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. * Move promptly to graduate Russia from trade restrictions under the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, something promised multiple times by previous administrations, as a signal of America’s seriousness in restarting the relationship.

Russians want repeal (1)

Congressional Research Service, April 20, 2006, “Russia’s Accession to the WTO”, http://www.global-trade-law.com/CRS.Russia%27s%20Accession%20to%20the%20WTO%20(2006).pdf

Russian political leaders have continually pressed the United States to “graduate” Russia from Jackson-Vanik coverage entirely. They see the amendment as a Cold War relic that does not reflect Russia’s new stature as a fledgling democracy and market economy. Moreover, Russian leaders argue that Russia has implemented freedom-of-emigration policies since the fall of the communist government, making the Jackson-Vanik conditions inappropriate and unnecessary.

Russians want repeal (2)

RIA Novosti (Russian International News Agency) (Russian state-owned news agency), May 18, 2010, “Russia still insists on abolishing Jackson-Vanik amendment”, http://en.rian.ru/world/20100518/159057521.html

A Russian deputy prime minister said the United States must abolish ‘its discriminating’ Jackson-Vanik amendment as soon as possible as it hinders trade with Russia. “It seems strange that the two countries still have sharp barriers and the rudiments of the past, which undermine our plans to dynamically develop bilateral trade and economy,” Sergei Ivanov, who is currently on an official visit to the United States, said. “Jackson-Vanik amendment is one of the anachronisms. I believe it is high time to abolish it,” Ivanov said.

Precedent: Graduated countries

Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

The list of countries to which Jackson-Vanik applies has narrowed as these countries join the WTO, which requires all member states to establish permanent normal trade relations with one other. Congress and the president have addressed the amendment’s incompatibility with this requirement by voting to graduate Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Romania, Ukraine, and Vietnam in correspondence with each country’s WTO accession, withholding permanent normal trade relations status only from Moldova

PNTR = distancing from Cold War and stable business climate

Congressional Research Service, February 24, 2010, “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties”, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS21123_20100224.pdf

Granting Russia permanent and unconditional NTR status will have little direct impact on U.S.- Russian trade. Russian imports have entered the United States on a NTR or MFN basis since 1992. The initiative would be a political symbol of Russia’s treatment as a “normal” country in U.S. trade, further distancing U.S.-Russian relations from the Cold War. It would also be a step in the direction of Russia’s accession to the WTO. For investors and other business people, permanent NTR may mean a more stable climate for doing business.

Response: Russia lifted US chicken ban

Dow Jones Newswires, June 24, 2010, Fox News, “UPDATE: Russia Agrees To Lift Ban On US Chicken”, http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/retail/update-russia-agrees-lift-ban-chicken/

Russia has agreed to lift a six-month ban on U.S. chicken, U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday during a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the White House. “Today we’ve reached an agreement that will allow the United States to begin exporting our poultry products to Russia once again,” Obama said. Russia effectively banned U.S. chicken on Jan. 1 by prohibiting importation of poultry that is processed with chlorinated rinses, a sanitization method used by all major U.S. processors at the time. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Russia has long been the largest export market for U.S. poultry and regaining access to that market has been a top priority for the Obama Administration. I am pleased our countries have come to an agreement that will reopen this valuable market to U.S. producers.” The deal announced Thursday assures Russia that U.S. chicken exports will not go through a chlorinated water rinse, according to Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. Instead, U.S. negotiators agreed that three alternative sanitizing compounds will be used. U.S. government officials have said they don’t share Russia’s safety concerns over chlorinated water rinses that are used to kill pathogens and help protect consumers from food-borne illnesses.

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9 Responses to ‘Case of the Week’ 2: Graduate Russia from Jackson-Vanik

  1. E. S. says:

    I see quite a bit of power-tagging and mis-construing of evidence in the 1AC alone. You need to seriously re-write this case with some integrity and evidence quality standards.

    • cogdebate says:

      If you could be more specific, that would be good. What specific problems do you see?

      It should be reemphasized that this is not intended to be a complete or polished case. It’s just a starting point to help out people looking for cases or trying to research against them. As such, much of the evidence is not as strong as it really should be, but I don’t see any actual misinterpretations or mistagging.

      Needless to say, we put a lot more editorial and quality-control work into the actual sourcebook.

  2. E. S. says:

    Yeah, I know this is just a rough sample case, and I’m glad it is. I’ll leave out discussion of problems with the MFN/NTR/PNTR confusion because anyone running this case correctly (I used to be) understands them and knows how to dodge the loopholes with them (they are the major flaw of this case). Here are the power-tags, contradictions, and weak cards I found:

    1. Your ‘Compliance since 1991’ (which is power-tagged, I’ll explain in a minute) contradicts ‘A repeal essential for permanant normal trade relations’ (which says…) “Since 1994, Russia has been found in compliance with the Amendment’s freedom of emigration requirements.” Sure, one could use the ‘Compliance since 1991’ card only but, in reality using that to denote their _compliance_ for 20 years now is incorrect. Just because they were found in compliance _since_ 1991, doesn’t mean that they have been found in compliance every year starting in 1991. There are way more cards out there that say the 1994 figure in a much more in-context and credible manner.

    2. The ‘Repeal = increased US-Russia relations’ is power-tagged. All it says to that could possibly/maybe/somehow be interpreted to that tag was “The substantive dialogue would greatly be enhanced by repeal of J[ackson] – V[anik]; to the extent that it had a strategic purpose and effect, these have passed, and it is time for it to be consigned to history.” That only says dialogue would be improved, not relations. They’re not the same thing.

    3. This card is the most confusing:
    PNTR (permanent normal trade relations) = stable business climate

    Congressional Research Service, February 24, 2010, “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties”, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS21123_20100224.pdf

    “Granting Russia permanent and unconditional NTR status will have little direct impact on U.S.- Russian trade. Russian imports have entered the United States on a NTR or MFN basis since 1992. The initiative would be a political symbol of Russia’s treatment as a “normal” country in U.S. trade, further distancing U.S.-Russian relations from the Cold War. It would also be a step in the direction of Russia’s accession to the WTO. For investors and other business people, permanent NTR may mean a more stable climate for doing business.”

    Doesn’t sound like a very confident card.

    4. Regarding this card…

    Jackson-Vanik a principle reason for tensions

    Prof. Anders Aslund (PhD from Oxford, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute), 2007, “Russia’s capitalist revolution: why market reform succeeded and democracy failed”, http://books.google.com/books?id=rAYEwq45fioC (page 268)

    “…Official Russian spokesmen blame the enlargement of NATO to the Baltic states and the US failure to eliminate the Jackson-Vanik amendment’s potential (but implausible) threat of trade sanctions.”

    Potential but implausible? (From the judge’s perspective) ‘I thought there were real implications to JV, why is he reading this card that minimizes his justifications???’

    5. Jackson-Vanik prevented expansion of US-Russia trade

    Julie Ginsberg (BA in anthropology from Princeton, editor with Roubini Global Economics, and writer and editor for Council on Formal Relations), July 2, 2009, Council on Foreign Relations, “Reassessing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment”, http://www.cfr.org/publication/19734/reassessing_the_jacksonvanik_amendment.html

    “Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, asserts that Jackson-Vanik has contributed to making the United States a “least favored trading partner” of Russia, pointing out that only 4 percent of Russia’s trade is with the United States.”

    POOOWWWWWEEEEERRRRRTAAAGGGGEEEEDDDD….. AUGGHGHHH I’m going to fall out of my chair if I read it one more time!!! IF someone wants to use that card… PLEASE re-tag and use it _correctly_

    6. Prevented increased economic relations

    Thorsten Nestmann (Ph.D. from the University of Mainz, Deutsche Bank/AICGS Fellow and a country risk analyst at Deutsche Bank Research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.), July 29, 2009, “US-Russia Economic Relations”, http://www.consensuseconomics.com/News_and_Articles/US_Russia_Economic_Relations411.htm

    “…It is very difficult to assess or even quantify the related impact on US-Russia economic relations. In fact there have not been any restrictions due to Jackson-Vanik in place for almost two decades as the US president has waived these restrictions every year. However, the fact that Jackson-Vanik has been kept may have weighed negatively on US companies’ sentiment towards Russia. At the same time, Jackson-Vanik may have deterred and irritated Russian politicians and the Russian business community, undermining a more active economic exchange.”

    Another weak card :(

    7. PNTR = distancing from Cold War and stable business climate

    Congressional Research Service, February 24, 2010, “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties”, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS21123_20100224.pdf

    “Granting Russia permanent and unconditional NTR status will have little direct impact on U.S.- Russian trade. Russian imports have entered the United States on a NTR or MFN basis since 1992. The initiative would be a political symbol of Russia’s treatment as a “normal” country in U.S. trade, further distancing U.S.-Russian relations from the Cold War. It would also be a step in the direction of Russia’s accession to the WTO. For investors and other business people, permanent NTR may mean a more stable climate for doing business.”

    Yet another weak card!

    • cogdebate says:

      Yes, those are weak cards, and would need to be replaced. Obviously, this is just the sort of stuff you find in an afternoon.

      With regards to the “potential (but implausible)” card, it’s saying that the threat of sanctions is implausible, not that the damage to relations is implausible. I’m not sure if this is how you’re reading it.

      “Jackson-Vanik prevented expansion of US-Russia trade” – how is this powertagged, exactly? It basically says “Expert X says trade is lower than it would have been without JV.” The only part of that that isn’t in the tag is the “expert X” part, which isn’t much different than just changing the source citation.

      Good comments.

  3. E. S. says:

    oops just realized I did the same card twice. sorry about the long post.

  4. Giovanni says:

    Sorry, but this case is like one of the worst out there. It has a lot of advocates, but it’s extremely insignificant. Also, Aff teams running this case are world-renown for power tagging. There is very little evidence saying that it will significantly impact much. The moment this case is out the window, I’ll be dancing.

    • M. R. says:

      This looks like a very fun case to debate…reading through the 1AC, i can see some big arguments i could bring up (maybe because i am writing a long brief against Jackson-Vanik).
      1 major thing i see is that the first justification (no longer nessecary, i think) uses the same source. the same man said both of the pieces of evidence (bu the way, I did not see many credentials on any of the evidnece). is he credible?
      i would overall say, i can see potential for this case. it needs some work, but it seems very fun to debate!! (i think alot of people in my region are running Jackson-Vanik)
      :)

  5. J. Som says:

    Russia could become a significant market not only for US/EU agricultural products but also for certain advanced devices and industrial processes that are largely not yet being sourced from China. Also oil and gas from the relatively near Russian Arctic could provide additional alternatives to OPEC oil besides Canadian bitumen. The US can more aggressively pursue friendly relations with the Russian leadership to counterbalance China’s increasingly aggressive stance in South Asia.

    Finally, friendly relations with Russia can provide the EU (and the US) further access to Russian rocket/space and nuclear technology.

    Putin, Dimi, et al. most likely consider a friendly US a better bet than a “friendly” China, just as long as the US leadership doesn’t become too eager on seconding Israeli “initiatives” in the Middle East.

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