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Presidents Conference Endorses Extension of Mfn Status for Rumania

June 11, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations today endorsed another one-year extension of most-favored-nation (MFN) trade status for Rumania.

In written testimony submitted on behalf of the Conference, Jock Spitzer, president of B’nai B’rith International, one of the constituent organizations, told the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee that despite some persisting problems, members of the Conference believed that Jewish emigration from Rumania–a major factor in granting MFN to the Bucharest government–was moving ahead “seasonably well.” Spitzer noted that in the five years since Rumania was first accorded most-favored-nation status, trade with the United States “has grown dramatically, ” and now approaches nearly $1 billion annually. But, he pointed out, “during most of this period, the volume of persons emigrating”–a condition of MFN status under the Trade Reform Act–“has shown the opposite tendency.”

Jewish emigration to Israel slid from 3700 in 1974–the first full year prior to MFN — to 1200 in 1978 and 1979, Spitzer reported. Conceding that the decline could be attributed partially to the shrinking base for emigration, he said Jewish organizations “were convinced that the decline also had something to do with the (Rumanian) government’s policy of discouraging emigration.”


But last summer the Rumanian government negotiated with the Presidents Conference and reached an agreement–“endorsed by the U.S. government itself”–which Spitzer explained, the Conference hoped would result in increased Jewish emigration as well as a means of monitoring applications in process.

Spitzer “noted with satisfaction” that emigration thus far this year is “significantly ahead of last year’s pace. We are also pleased that much of the backlog that existed last year, including some very difficult cases, has now been resolved,” he said. On the basis of the improved record, Spitzer concluded, the Conference of Presidents “can recommend another extension of most-favored-nation trade status.

He added that the Conference will continue to monitor Rumania’s performance closely and hopes Bucharest will ease emigration procedures still further so the Conference can give an unqualified endorsement of another extension of MFN next year.

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