WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian trade and human rights bill has cleared Congress and is heading for the president's signature, opening up new export opportunities for American businesses but antagonizing relations with Russia over its treatment of dissidents.
The Moscow government, while welcoming better trade relations, has threatened retaliation over a section of the bill that would punish Russian officials accused of human rights violations.
The Senate's 92-4 vote Thursday to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia followed an equally convincing vote last month in the House. The bill eliminates a long-obsolete 1974 provision that tied trade relations with the former Soviet Union to the emigration of Jews.
The White House says it strongly supports the bill.