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House Votes to Exempt Agriculture From Sanctions on India, Pakistan

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The House on Tuesday joined the Senate in voting to protect the nation’s wheat farmers from the adverse effects of U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing India and Pakistan for nuclear tests they conducted in May.

On a voice vote, House members exempted for one year agricultural commodities from the economic embargo that U.S. law required President Clinton to impose against the two nations. Before the vote, lawmakers expressed concern that the financial damage the sanctions cause U.S. farmers outweighs the need to penalize countries flouting the nuclear test ban.

The Senate had approved similar legislation unanimously last week and Tuesday it promptly accepted the slightly different House version, sending it to Clinton for his signature.

In recent weeks, members of Congress from both parties increasingly have come to grips with the fact that U.S. farmers, especially in the Midwest and upper Plains states, are suffering because of bad weather, the Asian economic crisis and other developments.

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The immediate effect of easing the India-Pakistan sanctions will be to allow U.S. farmers to participate in Pakistan’s planned purchase of 350,000 metric tons of white wheat. Much of that crop is grown in the Pacific Northwest.


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