WASHINGTON (Jun. 24)
Congress was urged by Carter Administration officials last week to continue the waivers in the trade Jaws to permit most-favored-nation tariff treatment for Rumania and Hungary. They claimed, in a hearing before the subcommittee on trade of the House Ways and Means Committee that relations with these two countries are very important to U.S. interests in Eastern Europe.
Jewish communal organization are expected to present testimony to the subcommittee led by Charles Vanik (D. Ohio) after the July 4 Congressional recess. According to evidence which the subcommittee mode available to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Rumanian Jewish emigration has been decreasing steadily in recent years and sharply this year while the Rumanian government has made receiving exit visas continuously more difficult to obtain.
Thus for this year, Jewish emigration to Israel has fallen more than 40 percent compared with last year which was the lowest annual out-flow since Rumania was first granted most-favored nation benefits in 1975. In the first five months of this year only 260 Jews have been allowed to emigrate, the subcommittee informed the JTA. Last year, 1, 112 Jews were allowed to emigrate.
Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D. NY) appeared before the Vanik panel to point out that lack of cooperation by the Rumanian government is hampering the legal proceedings to deport Bishop Valerian Trifa who is accused of falsifying his background in obtaining U.S. citizenship. Trifa was a leader in the Rumanian Iron Guard, which caused the deaths of numerous Jews in Rumania during World War II.
Officials of the Departments of Treasury and Commerce and from the office of Special Trade Ambassador Robert Strauss joined Matthew Nimetz, the State Department’s counselor, in urging trade benefits for Rumania and Hungary.
Nimetz said, “the establishment of non-discriminatory trade relations with Rumania in 1975 and with. Hungary in 1978 was a watershed in our relations with both countries.” He said that “our paramount interest in keeping this close relationship is based on Rumania’s considerable independence on foreign policy issues,” and he noted that” alone among Warsaw pact countries, Rumania supported the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and U.S. efforts in that area.”