H. Cooper Specialist in International Trade and Finance
most-favored-nation (MFN) status, or in U.S. statutory parlance, normal trade relations
(NTR) status, is a fundamental principle of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Under this principle, WTO members are required unconditionally to treat
imports of goods and services from any WTO member no less favorably than
they treat the imports of like goods and services from any other WTO
member country. Under Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, most communist
or nonmarket-economy countries were denied MFN status unless they fulfilled freedom-of-emigration
conditions as contained in Section 402, the so-called Jackson-Vanik amendment,
or were granted a presidential waiver of the conditions, subject to
congressional disapproval. The statute still applies to many of these
countries, even though most have replaced their communist governments. The
majority of these countries have joined the WTO or are candidates for
accession. Several countries are close to completing the accession process, and Congress
could soon face the issue of what to do about their NTR status to ensure that
the United States benefits from those accession agreements.
During the 112th Congress, Members face the issue of whether to extend PNTR to
Russia and Moldova. On November 16, 2012, the House passed H.R. 6156. S.
3406 awaits Senate floor action. Both bills would authorize PNTR for
Russia and for Moldova.
Date of Report: November 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 8 Order Number: RS22398 Price: $19.95
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