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Senate Committee Approves Ford’s Request for Mfn to Rumania

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved today President Ford’s request for most favored nation trade treatment of Rumania. It was followed by a 14-2 vote in a House trade subcommittee in favor of MFN for Rumania. Most favored nation status will allow Rumania tariff rates 50 percent below those levied on other Communist countries except Poland and Yugoslavia.

The Senate and House actions followed information provided by government officials that Rumania has cased its emigration restrictions on Jews and others. Under the terms of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment incorporated into the 1974 Trade Reform Act. U.S. trade benefits to Communist countries are contingent on their emigration practices, Both the full Senate and the House must approve a normal trade policy with Rumania before the reduced tariffs become effective. The Senate has until July 12 to act.

Complaints from Jewish groups, borne out by U.S. officials, indicated that Rumania has tightened its emigration policies this year, reversing its past relatively liberal policies. In the first five months of 1975, fewer than 400 Jews left Rumania for Israel compared to an average of 300 a month in 1974, according to U.S. sources. But information from Bucharest this week indicated that emigration was once more on the rise.

According to the State Department, 237 Jews left for Israel in June bringing the total for the first six months of the year to 616. In addition, informants said, 303 were scheduled to leave in July and Rumania has approved exit visas for 2000 Jews so far this year for Israel and 954 applications by Rumanians who want to go to the U.S.

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