Country Applicability of the U.S. Normal Trade Relations (Most-Favored-Nation) Status
CRS Report for Congress
Country Applicability of the U.S.
Normal Trade Relations
Vladimir N. Pregelj
Specialist in International Trade and Finance
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
The United States accords permanent normal-trade-relations (NTR) (formerly
called most-favored-nation (MFN)) treatment to all its trading partners except two
countries to which it is denied by law and ten countries whose NTR status is temporary
and subject to the conditions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974.
As a matter of general policy embodied in its own law (Section 126; Trade Act of
1974; 19 U.S.C. 2136), the United States extends unlimited and permanent
nondiscriminatory (NTR/MFN) treatment to all of its trading partners. Hence, there
exists no official specific list of countries with NTR status.1
Excepted from this general policy have been certain countries whose MFN status
was suspended by law. In several such instances, permanent NTR treatment has been
restored by legislation; in most other cases, however, the status has been restored (and
remains in effect) on a temporary, periodically renewable basis. Such restoration and
continuation in effect through semiannual or annual renewals is subject to the conditions
set by the requirements of the Jackson-Vanik freedom-of-emigration amendment (Section
existence of a three-year, renewable bilateral trade agreement).
The countries that are, at present, denied NTR status by the United States are:
Cuba and North Korea.
Countries to which NTR treatment is at present being accorded based on conditional
restoration under the provisions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 are:
1 For purposes of comparison: a recent State Department list of the countries of the world
contains the names of 192 independent countries, and 62 dependencies; it separately lists Taiwan.
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
(1) under the presidential waiver of full compliance with the Jackson-Vanik
amendment requirements, which must be renewed annually and is subject to disapproval
by joint resolution of Congress:
Belarus and Turkmenistan (former constituent republics of the Soviet Union), and
(2) under the presidential determination of full compliance with the Jackson-Vanik
amendment requirements, which must be made semiannually and is subject to disapproval
by joint resolution of Congress at the time of year-end renewal:
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan (all
of them former Soviet Union republics).
In recent Congresses, legislation was introduced (but not acted upon) to grant
permanent NTR status to former Soviet republics Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russian
Federation, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, and to Cuba. In the 108th Congress, permanent
NTR treatment was restored by law to Armenia and Laos.
In the 109th Congress, legislation has thus far been introduced to restore permanent
NTR status to Ukraine.
PNTR status has been restored in earlier years to Afghanistan, and to Serbia and
Montenegro by Presidential action as authorized by relevant legislation.
For more detailed information contact the author at (202) 707-7747.