Congress Approves Russia Trade Measure With Internet Censorship Provisions

November 16, 2012

The Computer & Communications Industry Association welcomes House passage today of legislation extending permanent normal trade relations to the Russian Federation by a vote of 365-43.  In addition to removing application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to Russia, the bill combines the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act addressing the issues of human rights violations and corruption in Russia.  CCIA is pleased to note that the bill includes a provision requiring that the United States Trade Representative to report annually on Russian discrimination against U.S. digital trade.  We look forward to swift Senate passage as well.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The strong bipartisan vote is an encouraging sign that the House can work together in balancing the important issues of trade and human rights.

“CCIA has long characterized Internet censorship as both a human rights issue and a trade barrier issue.  The USTR reporting requirement on barriers to digital trade in Russia will focus attention on an important point just as Russian policies on Internet filtering and blacklisting are causing serious concern. It’s encouraging to see signs that Congress is taking action to build in better provisions to discourage Internet censorship as part of out future trade relations.

“There has been much discussion on the need to update Jackson-Vanik.  Internet censorship is a significant human rights concern for the 21st century, and will need to be addressed as part of our continued vigilance on Russia’s human rights violations.”

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