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AP News

House to vote on bill normalizing Russian trade

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is set to remove a Cold War obstacle to trade with Russia that has stymied American exporters seeking to take advantage of Russia's newly liberalized trade practices.

Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization in August requires it to lower tariffs and take other market-opening measures. But unless Congress acts to eliminate a 1974 measure linking trade to the emigration of Soviet Jews and other minorities, U.S. businesses will be shut off from the benefits available to the WTO's other 155 members.

Establishing permanent normal trade relations with Russia has been a top trade priority for both the business community and the administration. But the House Republican leadership, sensitive to the overall poor relations between Washington and Moscow, held off on bringing up the bill before the election.

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