"The enactment of the so-called Jackson-Vanik amendment as part of the Trade Act of 1974 was directly a U.S. reaction to the severe restrictions the Soviet Union had placed in late 1972 on the emigration of its citizens, but was expanded in its scope to apply to all so-called 'nonmarket economy' (NME) countries. The amendment, in effect, requires compliance with its specific free-emigration criteria as a key condition for the restoration of certain benefits theretofore denied to NME countries in their economic relations with the United States. These benefits - access to nondiscriminatory (most-favored-nation; normal-trade-relations) treatment in trade; access to U.S. government financial facilities; ability to conclude a trade agreement with the United States) - may be extended to an NME country subject to the amendment only if the President determines that the country is not in violation of (i.e., is in full compliance with) the free-emigration criteria of the amendment, or if he waives, under specified conditions, the requirement of full compliance with the criteria. Such determinations or waivers must be renewed periodically. Congressional involvement in the implementation of the provision is limited. The initial application, periodic renewals, or subsequent changes (other than termination) of the requirements of either type of compliance with the Jackson-Vanik amendment freedom-of-emigration requirements take place, under existing legislation, by Executive action."
CRS Report for Congress, 98-545