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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, Mar 8, 2006, 7:30 pm ET

    Press release

    Coalition Statement on the Graduation of Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik

    L-R: Ambassador Steven Pifer, Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) (mic), Ambassador William Green Miller, and NCSJ Chairman Dr. Robert Meth at the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition Press Conference. [Not picured, Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).]

    Washington DC (March 8, 2006) – The House of Representatives today passed legislation to graduate Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. The legislation, H.R. 1053, offered by Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), grants Ukraine normal trade relations status with the United States. The final vote results were 417 votes cast in favor of the bill, 2 against, and 3 abstentions. The Senate is expected to quickly act on this legislation.

    RELATED
     ·  JACKSON-VANIK GRADUATION COALITION

     ·  FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 24 [H.R. 1053]
     ·  House bill H.R. 1053 [PDF]
     

    Prior to the vote, the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition held a press conference on Capitol Hill. Speakers included Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), as well as coalition co-chairmen Ambassador Steven Pifer and Ambassador William Green Miller, as well as NCSJ Chairman Dr. Robert Meth. Among other things, the speakers noted that the impending passage of H.R. 1053 would recognize the progress that Ukraine has made along its reforms path.

    The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition expresses its great appreciation to the House of Representatives for its passage of H.R. 1053. The Coalition in particular expresses its gratitude for the bipartisan leadership of Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), and Representative Sander Levin (D-MI). The Coalition further notes the strong support of the House leadership and the White House in achieving passage of H.R. 1053. Finally, the Coalition expresses its appreciation for the leadership in the Senate of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) in graduating Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik.

    Leaders of the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition with Representatives Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA).

    Passage of legislation to graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik recognizes the progress that Ukraine has made in building a modern democracy and market economy. The House of Representatives’ action today confirms the United States’ commitment to democracy and reform in Ukraine and to a robust bilateral relationship. In particular, it complements the Senate’s passage of legislation by unanimous consent in November 2005 to graduate Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, the United States granting Ukraine market economy status in February, and the United States and Ukraine concluding a WTO bilateral protocol on Monday.

    The Jackson-Vanik Amendment was enacted in 1974 in reaction to the severe restrictions the Soviet Union had placed on emigration of its citizens, most notably those of Jewish descent. Since regaining its independence in 1991, Ukraine has built a strong record of open emigration and has fully met Jackson-Vanik’s freedom of emigration requirements, a fact recognized by both Presidents Clinton and Bush.

    Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition members with Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) after the House voted to graduate Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

    The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, co-chaired by Ambassador Steven Pifer and Ambassador William Miller, represents more than 250 businesses and Ukrainian-American, Jewish-American and other non-governmental organizations. The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation initiated this Coalition as a result of the U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue. Several Task Forces within U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue identified the graduation of Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment as one of the priorities for strengthening U.S.-Ukraine relations.

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