PublishedDecember 6, 2012

Senate Approves Russia Trade Measure With Internet Censorship Provisions

The Computer & Communications Industry Association welcomes Senate passage today of legislation extending permanent normal trade relations to the Russian Federation by a vote of 92-4.  The bill combines the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, addressing the issues of human rights violations and corruption in Russia, with legislation removing application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to Russia.  Companies facing trade barriers due to Internet filtering and blocking are cheering a provision requiring that the United States Trade Representative to report annually on Russian discrimination against U.S. digital trade.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The strong bipartisan vote in the Senate, coming on top of the strong vote in the House, shows that both houses of Congress can come together to address the thorny issues of trade and human rights.

“CCIA has long advocated the recognition of Internet censorship as both a human rights issue and a trade barrier issue.  The USTR reporting requirement on barriers to digital trade in Russia constitutes legislative recognition of the importance of digital trade and the significance of new trade barriers in a digital global economy.  It is a good first step toward building in better provisions to discourage Internet censorship as part of our future trade relations.

“This vote comes amid serious concerns regarding Russian policies on Internet filtering and blacklisting enacted in recent months.  Internet censorship will need to be addressed as part of our continued vigilance on Russia’s human rights violations.”
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