This week Vice President Dick Cheney warned that Russia was moving away from democracy towards autocracy. Yet the Bush Administration has seemed reluctant to use trade policy as a tool to encourage the Russians to maintain basic rights at home (such as freedom of speech and assembly, the right to information) and democratic rights abroad in former Soviet Countries. In the weeks to come, Congress is reviewing whether or not to grant Russia most favored nation status (now known as NTR). Russia needs NTR to accede to the WTO, and Russia really wants to join the WTO. If the Bush Administration acts creatively, it can find ways to work with Congress to obtain human rights action as a condition of NTR. While that has not been done in the past with NTR, why not think differently if human rights and democratization in Russia are an important US policy goal.
I welcome your comments.
Susan Ariel Aaronson, Ph.D.
Pl. visit our website, www.humanrights-trade.org for more information on how policymakers can promote human rights at they work to expand trade