BUCHAREST (Jan. 10)
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Lawrence Eagleburger arrived here today, reportedly to warn Rumania that it risks losing its most favored nation status if it imposes the special education tax decreed last year. Eagleburger, who will spend one day in Bucharest, is to meet tomorrow with President and Communist Party leader Nicolae Ceausescu
Ceausescu announced last November that Rumania will introduce a special tax on all emigrants. According to this decree, emigrants will have to reimburse the state for their educational expenses covering their last two years in high school, university studies and post-graduate courses.
The payment, evaluated at between $10,000 to $50,000 must be made in foreign currency. Emigrants must also surrender to the state all their property before leaving the country.
Ceausescu reportedly told Rumanian Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen last December that the tax will not be applied to Jews leaving for Israel. None of the Jews who have left so far had to pay the new tax.
Rumania and Hungary are the only two East European states which still enjoy most favored national status. Poland lost it in 1982 after martial law was imposed by the Warsaw government.
Congress is due to examine Rumania’s case in May and American spokesmen have repeatedly warned that it risks losing its privileged status should it prevent free emigration. During the last five years some 2,000 non-Jewish Rumanians left for the United States and 13,000 for West Germany. Rosen said last month that Jewish emigration to Israel had increased by 40 percent in 1982 compared to the previous year.