WASHINGTON – Poultry groups expressed approval of a bill introduced in the US Senate that would repeal a Cold-War era law restricting permanent normal trade relations with certain countries.

The 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment denies normal trade relations to countries that restrict emigration. The law was passed in response to hurdles the former Soviet Union erected for Jews who wanted to leave the country in the 1970s. The Russian parliament is expected to ratify the country’s membership in the World Trade Organization by July 4. WTO members must grant each other permanent normal trade relations. The US would be in violation of WTO rules if the law is still on the books when Russia officially joins the WTO.

The National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF) and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) applauded the introduction of the bill to repeal Jackson-Vanik and grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status. Russia is currently the third largest export market for US broiler meat and is the 10th largest export market for US turkey.

“We appreciate the efforts of Sens. Baucus, Kerry, Thune and McCain for their introduction of this bill that will repeal the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment and create new jobs and boost the US economy,” the poultry groups said. “As Russia enters into the WTO later this summer, PNTR will ensure that poultry companies can take full advantage of new business opportunities, that Russia’s commitments entering the WTO are enforced and that American businesses are on an equal playing field in the Russian market.”