DOLE OFFERS BILL DETAILING HOW U.S. CAN EXIT WTO
Byline: Joyce Barrett
WASHINGTON — A bill mapping a U.S. escape from the newly created World Trade Organization was introduced on the first day of the 104th Congress by Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R., Kan.), who already has secured the administration’s endorsement of the package.
While no schedule has been set for the Senate Finance Committee to consider the 19-page bill, it’s bound to come up early since it is the crux of a deal between Dole and President Clinton that secured passage of the GATT Uruguay Round in November. Without it, Dole had threatened to oppose the worldwide free trade agreement, a move that would have defeated the pact and handed the President an international humiliation.
Under Dole’s bill, a five-person WTO Dispute Settlement Review Commission would be created and would have the authority to recommend that the U.S. withdraw from the WTO if three rulings considered adverse to U.S. trade policies have been issued in five years.
The bill also gives any member of Congress the right to introduce a resolution to be considered by both chambers of Congress to remove the U.S. from the WTO.
According to the bill’s language, Congress passed the Uruguay Round with the assurance that U.S. trade laws and retaliatory measures would be protected.
“The American people must receive assurances that U.S. sovereignty will be protected, and U.S. interests will be advanced, within the global trading system which the WTO will oversee,” the bill said.
On another trade front, a bill broadening trade benefits for the Caribbean Basin Initiative countries to give them parity with Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement is expected to be introduced early next week. House Trade Subcommittee chairman Phil Crane (R., Ill.) is working on draft legislation along with Rep. Sam Gibbons (D., Fla.), former acting chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the prime advocate of CBI parity.
On Thursday, the CBI parity plan got a boost when Rep. Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.), an advocate of CBI parity, was named ranking minority member on the House Trade Subcommittee. — Fairchild News Service