Trade puts U.S.-Russian relations at turning point

Friday, 8 June 2012
McClatchy Newspapers

Is Russia a friend, foe or frenemy? That question hangs over Congress as lawmakers ponder whether to grant a former adversary normalized trade relations. ... The Magnitsky bill prohibits those involved in his death from getting visas to the United States, something the Obama administration says it’s already done. The bill also allows the State Department wide latitude to deny Russians accused of abuses access to the United States and its financial system.

Similar measures are in place for leaders of pariah states such as Iran and Myanmar. Some argue that it’s too blunt an instrument for Russia.

... “It will make our ongoing dialogue with Russia more difficult and set us up for additional confrontations in the future,” said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, a trade group for large U.S. multinational corporations.

“As usual with unilateral sanctions, it will be the business community that loses.”

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