GE plans sales push when Jackson-Vanik repealed

General Electric plans to boom its sales to Russia when the Cold War-era Jackson-Vanik Amendment is repealed. The law still stops American companies dealing with former Soviet states.

­“If you look at the trade right now the US exports to Russia about 4% versus eastern Asia 29% and European Union about 43%”, Ron Pollett, the president of GE Russian and CIS told RT.

He went on: “The US has a big opportunity to increase its trade, if we repeal Jackson-Vanik, we’ll be able to take advantage of it, and reduce tariffs for equipment coming from the US.”

The Jackson–Vanik amendment was introduced in 1974 and hedges trade relations with non-market economies which restricted emigration which is considered a human right. Originally this dealt with countries of the Communist bloc, but the amendment still applies to Russia.

“If we see Jackson-Vanik repealed and Russia will be granted PNTR by United States, we expect our sales to triple by 2020 in Russia,” Mr Pollett stressed.

Mr Pollett pointed out Russia is a priority market for GE right now and the company plans to develop its business with building infrastructure in Russia. “As you know we signed some joint ventures last year with the Russian government agencies in the gas turbine and healthcare industries,” he said.

GE hopes the US authorities will discuss the withdrawal of Jackson-Vanik this spring, before Russia officially joins the WTO in June, so the American business could take a full advantage of trade relations with Russia.

Though many U.S. lawmakers confess the economic advantages that would come with withdrawal of Jackson-Vanik, some of them say it should be replaced with new legislation representing the U.S. position on human rights violations in Russia.

Meanwhile the Russian Foreign Ministry called on the U.S. to withdraw all trade limitations concerning Russia. “We do not want the abolition of the amendment to be supplemented with a similar substitution including any links to trade issues,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said adding Russia repeatedly expressed its interest in the repeal of the amendment.