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U.S. Congressman: Link Russia’s WTO accession and human rights

U.S. Congressman: Link Russia’s WTO accession and human rights

I missed this statement from Congressman David Dreier earlier this week on Russia’s potentially imminent WTO accession:

In our relationship with Moscow, we must learn to balance the twin imperatives of effective engagement and criticism of gross miscarriages of justice.  This will only become more essential in the context of the coming debate on Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
 
Russia has moved closer than ever to acceding to the WTO.  We are likely to face this prospect in the coming year and the resulting vote on whether to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations.  We will need to have a full and robust debate on this issue.  We will need to ensure that PNTR in not granted until we have confirmed that Russia has fulfilled the basic obligations that WTO membership demands.

You can bet that the Obama administration, which has been working hard to get Moscow into the WTO, will push back aggressively against any Capitol Hill roadblocks. In general, I wonder if Congress will toughen scrutiny of Russia’s human rights record in part because it wants to be tough on China but is too scared of the consequences for the relationship.