U.S. lawmakers likely to restart debates on Jackson-Vanik amendments in 2013

The United States is likely to indefinitely postpone the cancellation of the discriminatory Jackson-Vanik amendment, the daily Kommersant reported on Wednesday.

"The Congress will go on recess next week. Meanwhile, the bill on the establishment of normal trade relations with Russia is not on its schedule, which means that debates on the bill can only be restarted in 2013 after a new U.S. president is sworn in," the daily writes.

Daniel O'Flaherty, vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, told the Kommersant that the Congress and Senate will go on a five-week recess on August 6, and their September schedules only reserve eight working days for debates on the bills proposed, he said.

If the bill to scrap the amendment is not debated this week, it could remain suspended until the lame duck session, O'Flaherty said.

A lot of overdue issues normally crop up in the period between the congressional elections in November and the beginning of the Congress' work in January. Therefore, the Congress will get back to the Jackson -Vanik amendments no earlier than 2013, he said.

During this time, the positions occupied in Russia by American companies, will be filled by rivals from Europe and Asia, he said.

The obstacle obstructing a vote on the Jackson-Vanik amendment in Congress is American lawmakers' differing approaches to the Magnitsky Act, which they have decided to pass simultaneously with the cancellation of the amendment.

"The lower house wants visa sanctions introduced and assets of corrupt Russian officials alone to be seized. The Senate-proposed bill also calls for prosecuting officials from other foreign countries for human rights abuses," the newspaper writes.

If the bill is to be approved by the president, both houses must dovetail their positions, it says.

Meanwhile, Kommersant sources in U.S. Congress said the debates are likely to be postponed due to the White House's position.

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