Ron Paul
2004 Ron Paul Chapter 6

Ron Paul Introducing The Belarus Freedom Act Of 2004

24 February 2004

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Introducing The Belarus Freedom Act Of 2004
24 February 2004

2004 Ron Paul 6:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Belarus Freedom Act of 2004. This bill will graduate Belarus from the requirements of the Jackson-Vanik statute and thereby establish permanent normal trade relations with that country.

2004 Ron Paul 6:2
The Jackson-Vanik amendment was adopted in 1974, during a time when the U.S.S.R. was imposing enormous “education repayment fees” on anyone seeking to emigrate from that country. The statute was designed to prevent temporary restoration of an already suspended “most favored nation” treatment unless its freedom of emigration requirement is complied with. After the break-up of the U.S.S.R., the successor countries found themselves subject to Jackson-Vanik — meaning that they had to prove yearly that they allowed free emigration in order to enjoy normal trade relations with the United States. Several former Soviet republics have already been permanently graduated from Jackson-Vanik, and several others are in the process of being graduated. Belarus has gained a presidential waiver for every year since 1992, indicating its ongoing compliance with the requirements. Therefore it is time to recognize the passing of the Soviet era and move on toward better trade relations with Belarus.

2004 Ron Paul 6:3
Though some have tried to read additional requirements into the original amendment, Jackson-Vanik is in reality solely about freedom of emigration. And, as I have stated, Belarus has attained a Presidential waiver every year since 1992.

2004 Ron Paul 6:4
Time and time again we see that peaceful trade and good relations with other countries does much more to foster democratization and liberalization than sanctions, diplomatic expulsions, and accusations. Our Founding Fathers recognized this when they cautioned against foreign entanglements and counseled instead free trade and friendly relations with all countries who seek the same.

2004 Ron Paul 6:5
I hope my colleagues will join with me as cosponsors of this bill and support further constructive relations with the Republic of Belarus.

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