16 Nov 2010 14:09

Obama administration will work with Congress to repeal Jackson-Vanik amendment - U.S. ambassador to Russia

MOSCOW. Nov 16 (Interfax) - The U.S. sees Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2011 as realistic, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle said.

"We are seriously optimistic. Russia is on the right track for joining WTO next year," Beyrle said in an interview published in the Tuesday edition of Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Beyrle said most of the bilateral issues associated with Russia's accession to the WTO has been resolved with the U.S.

"Russia's accession to the WTO is an important priority for the Obama administration. President Obama clearly said that during a meeting with President Medvedev in Washington this past summer," he said.

Beyrle said the U.S. is also trying to give Russia the most favored nation treatment in trade, which requires the Jackson-Vanik amendment to be repealed.

"The Obama administration has a strategy on how to achieve that and we are now discussing it with members of Congress. We admit that the amendment was adopted at a time very different from today's. We will work with Congress next year on repealing this amendment. In the meantime, it is highly important that the U.S. and Russia do everything possible to reduce or eliminate any friction in our trade relations. We want that and we are hoping Russia wants that," Beyrle said.

Speaking about the trade and economic relations between the two countries, Beyrle reiterated that U.S. investment in Russia has stayed stable despite the crisis.

At the same time, he pointed out that U.S. companies are still having considerable difficulties in Russia, including a high number of administrative barriers, insufficient legal protection of property rights, especially intellectual property rights, corruption, and also the fact that the tax regime in the extraction of oil and gas in Russia is the main impediment for the development of new deposits and full-fledged operation of the existing deposits," he said.