Ambassador Steven Pifer and Ambassador Williams Miller, Co-Chairmen Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, Washington, D.C., February, 2006
(Action Ukraine Report) - The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition is pushing to persuade the House of Representatives to pass legislation in February to graduate Ukraine from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. This is now a matter requiring URGENT action.
The Coalition is urging Congress to take action now, due to concern that, with the approaching March 26 Rada elections, a failure by Congress to act will be seen as a failure of the Ukrainian government's foreign policy and an indication of Western disinterest in Ukraine.
Congressional inaction thus could be used by opponents of the government's pro-reform, pro- West course in the run-up to the parliamentary elections. The Coalition thus seeks passage of legislation by the House of Representatives in February, to send a strong signal of U.S. support to Ukraine.
The Senate passed by unanimous consent legislation to graduate Ukraine in November 2005, but the House of Representatives adjourned without taking parallel action. The House returned to work on January 31.
Our understanding continues to be that there is no opposition per se to graduating Ukraine in Congress; indeed, there is general agreement that Ukraine has long met Jackson-Vanik's freedom-of-emigration requirements. However, the House Ways and Means Committee (the House committee with primary jurisdiction for Jackson-Vanik) is reluctant to take up legislation until it has the opportunity to review the U.S.-Ukraine bilateral protocol on Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Both U.S. and Ukrainian government sources report that significant progress has been made on the protocol and that only a handful of issues remain, but it is not known how soon the protocol will be finished.
The Coalition is urging members of Congress to support and co-sponsor H.R. 1053, introduced by Rep Gerlach of Pennsylvania. Of the three House bills pending on Jackson-Vanik graduation for Ukraine, H.R. 1053 has the greatest receptivity in the Ways and Means Committee. As of January 31, H.R. 1053 had almost 40 co-sponsors.
Coalition co-chairmen Steven Pifer and William Miller sent letters on February 2 to members of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus who have not yet co- sponsored H.R. 1053 urging them to do so and graduate Ukraine this month (see text below). They also sent letters to the co-sponsors of H.R. 1053 and to members of the Ways and Means Committee urging action this month.
The Coalition urges all those who are interested in seeing Ukraine graduated from Jackson-Vanik to fax letters NOW urging Congressional action THIS MONTH to their members in the House of Representatives, to the members of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, and to members of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Coalition suggests faxing letters to district offices as well as to the Representatives' Washington offices.
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