[House Document 112-37]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


112th Congress, 1st Session - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 112-37
 
CONTINUATION OF WAIVER UNDER THE TRADE ACT OF 1974 WITH RESPECT TO THE
                          REPUBLIC OF BELARUS 

                               __________

                             COMMUNICATION

                                  from

THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS, THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                                 STATE

                              transmitting

   NOTIFICATION OF THE DETERMINATION THAT A CONTINUATION OF A WAIVER 
  CURRENTLY IN EFFECT FOR THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS WILL SUBSTANTIALLY 
   PROMOTE THE OBJECTIVES OF SECTION 402, OF THE TRADE ACT OF 1974, 
                 PURSUANT TO 19 U.S.C. 2432(c) AND (d)

                 [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


   June 21, 2011.--Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and 
                         ordered to be printed

                               ----------
                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 

99-011 PDF                       WASHINGTON : 2011 










                                       Department of State,
                                      Washington, DC, June 1, 2011.
Hon. John A. Boehner,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
    Dear Mr. Speaker: On behalf of the Secretary of State, we 
are transmitting to you the Presidential determination and 
Report to the Congress, referred to in Subsection 402(d)(1) of 
the Trade Act of 1974 (the ``Act''), as amended, with respect 
to the continuation of a waiver of application of Subsections 
(a) and (b) of Section 402 of the Act for Belarus.
    This document constitutes the Secretary's recommendation to 
continue this waiver for a further 12-month period and includes 
her determination that continuation of the waiver currently in 
effect for Belarus will substantially promote the objectives of 
Section 402 of the Act, and the reasons for such determination.
    We hope this information will be helpful to you and other 
Members of Congress. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we 
can be of further assistance.
            Sincerely,
                                Joseph E. Macmanus,
                                Acting Assistant Secretary,
                                               Legislative Affairs.
    Enclosure: As stated.
 Determination Under Subsection 402(d)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974, As 
               Amended--Continuation of Waiver Authority

    Pursuant to the authority vested in the President under the 
Trade Act of 1974, as amended, Public Law 93-618, 88 Stat. 1978 
(hereinafter ``the Act''), and assigned to the Secretary of 
State by virtue of Section 1(a) of Executive Order 13346 of 
July 8, 2004, I determine, pursuant to Section 402(d)(1) of the 
Act, 19 U.S.C. 2432(d)(1), that the further extension of the 
waiver authority granted by Section 402 of the Act will 
substantially promote the objectives of Section 402 of the Act. 
I further determine that continuation of the waiver applicable 
to Belarus will substantially promote the objectives of Section 
402 of the Act.
    This determination shall be published in the Federal 
Register.

                                    Hillary Rodham Clinton,
                                                Secretary of State.
Report to the Congress Concerning the Extension of Waiver Authority for 
                                Belarus

    Pursuant to Subsection 402(d)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974, 
as amended (``the Act''), and the authority assigned to me by 
the President in Executive Order 13346 concerning Delegation of 
Certain Waiver, Determination, Certification, and Reporting 
Functions, dated July 8, 2004, I hereby recommend a further 
extension for 12 months of the waiver granted by Subsection 
402(c) of the Act.
    I have determined that such an extension will substantially 
promote the objectives of Section 402 of the Act, and that a 
continuation of the waiver currently applicable to Belarus will 
also substantially promote the objectives of Section 402 of the 
Act.
    Exercise of the waiver authority conferred by Section 402 
of 
the Act has permitted the United States to conclude and 
maintain in force a bilateral trade agreement with Belarus. 
(Exercise of the waiver authority with respect to Belarus would 
also allow the U.S. government to engage in credit and 
investment activities in Belarus, but some of those programs 
have been suspended in Belarus due to strong concerns over the 
Belarusian authorities' repressive economic and human rights 
policies.)

               FREEDOM OF EMIGRATION SITUATION IN BELARUS

    The Belarusian Constitution of November 1996, although 
adopted illegitimately, specifically grants citizens the right 
to leave and return as they wish. Soviet-era restrictions on 
emigration in Belarus have largely been dismantled, and 
existing restrictions are applied in a manner generally 
allowing free emigration. None of the human rights or religious 
minority organizations--including Jewish organizations--report 
discriminatory restrictions limiting the ability of citizens to 
emigrate on the basis of ethnic or religious identity in 2010 
or the first part of 2011. Soviet-era legislation restricting 
emigration by those with access to ``state secrets'' does 
remain in force in Belarus. There are also exit restrictions on 
those who are involved in criminal investigations, convicted of 
crimes, attempting to evade military service, or have 
outstanding debts to a court, such as fines or child support 
obligations. Individuals charged or convicted for serious 
offenses related to participation in December 19 protests 
following the presidential election in Belarus face 
restrictions on temporary foreign travel. The United States 
considers these charges to be politically motivated.
    The procedure for administering these exit restrictions was 
changed with Presidential Decree No. 643 of December 17, 2007, 
which took effect on January 1, 2008. The decree abolished a 
system of passport exit stamps that had been used previously to 
grant permission for travel abroad. Under the new procedures, 
individuals presenting a passport to a border enforcement 
official at most border points are checked against a database 
of persons ineligible for exit. The Belarusian Committee for 
State Security (BKGB) and the Ministries of Justice, Internal 
Affairs, and Defense provide names of such persons to the 
Citizenship and Migration Office of the Ministry of Internal 
Affairs, which maintains the database. We have not received any 
reports this procedure is affecting freedom of emigration.
    The Belarusian authorities have engaged the Governments of 
Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland on agreements to allow visa-free, 
temporary cross-border travel for their citizens residing 
within 50 kilometers of the border. Discussions between the 
Governments of Belarus, Latvia, and Poland are complete, and 
the agreements have been signed and ratified, although Belarus 
has yet to implement them. By contrast, the Lithuanian 
Parliament has not ratified the country's agreement with 
Belarus. We believe these agreements will substantially improve 
opportunities for Belarusian citizens who reside along the 
border with these countries to travel abroad temporarily.
    Extending the waiver will substantially promote the 
objectives of Section 402 of this Act, by permitting normal 
trade, contingent on any other U.S. government restrictions. We 
will continue to raise our concerns with the Government of 
Belarus about any emigration-related policies that may arise, 
noting that efforts to restrict emigration may result in 
revocation of the waiver and normal trade relations.