Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrissov had a meeting with U.S. Congressmen during his official visit to Washington, Tengrinews reports citing the press-service of the Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry.
They discussed Kazakhstan's development and major landmarks in the bilateral partnership. The Kazakhstan minister called the U.S. lawmakers to support enhancement of the bilateral partnerships, first of all the trade and economic relations. In particular, he asked them to lift the Jackson-Vanik amendment from Kazakhstan as soon as possible.
The Jackson-Vanik amendment was adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1974. It restricts trade with non-market economies (originally, the countries of the Communist bloc) that limit the freedom of emigration and other human rights. It is believed that it was a response to the Soviet Union's "diploma taxes" levied on Jews attempting to emigrate, although the amendment does not specifically mention Jews and the tax applied to all the Soviet citizens, not only Jews.
The Jackson-Vanik amendment prohibited facilitation of trade with the countries it affected, issuance of government credits and credit guarantees to the said countries and provided for application of discriminative tariffs and levies to the goods they try to export to the United States.
The Jackson-Vanik amendment has already been repealed for 6 ex-Soviet countries: Kyrgyzstan (after it joined the American initiative on restoration of the Silk Way in 2000), Georgia (in line with its “promotion to democratization” and joining the Silk Way project in 2000), Armenia (in 2004), Ukraine (after the victory of the “orange revolution” in 2005), Russia (in exchange for Magnitsky bill in 2012) and Moldova (in 2012).
Currently the U.S. Congress passes annual waivers that graduate Kazakhstan, along with eight other states, from the provisions of Jackson-Vanik amendment.
Idrissov also met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz who “was interested in the progress of approval of Kazakhstan’s Concept for Transition to the Green Economy and measures taken by the country to implement the concept”. Kazakhstan Foreign Minister called the American partners to take part in the international exhibition EXPO-2017 called Energy of the Future that Astana will host in 2017.
They discussed the Joint Kazakhstan-American Commission on Economic Partnership and praised its work. The 10th meeting of the Commission is scheduled for October 22-23, 2013 in Astana.
Kazakhstan Foreign Minister also met with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to discuss a wide range of the issues of the bilateral strategic partnership. “There are friendly relations between our leaders; we are reliable partners in many global and regional issues,” Idrissov said.
The relations between Kazakhstan and the U.S. are facing a new development stage and are at a high level, the Minister continued. The institutionalization of the Kazakhstan-American connections serves to prove it. “The Strategic Partnership Commission is working successfully. Its second meeting was held during this visit. The bilateral Commission on Energy Partnership has been functioning for many years. We recently launched the Commission of Kazakhstan-American Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Astana,” he said.
Idrissov also had a meeting with Secretary General of the Organization of American States Jose Miguel Insulza to discuss regional cooperation between Kazakhstan and the countries of Central and Latin Americas. The Minister noted that the OAS agenda was complementary with Kazakhstan’s priorities, in particular, in nuclear nonproliferation, countering of terrorism, drug and weapons trafficking, tackling corruption and other modern challenges.
Earlier Kazakhstan Foreign Minister met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.