CLINTON, DOLE SPAR ON GATT
Byline: Joyce Barrett
WASHINGTON — President Clinton said Tuesday he opposed the attempt of Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R., Kan.) to link a capital gains tax cut to the GATT Uruguay Round, but noted progress was being made on the substantive issues Dole has raised about the worldwide trade pact.
In a press conference, Clinton said he appreciated the “constructive attitude” of negotiations with Dole, but added, “I disagree there should be some deal cut on capital gains.”
Clinton also addressed concerns that international trade costs U.S. jobs. Open trade, Clinton said, creates jobs that on average pay 13 percent more than other jobs. “GATT will raise incomes for American workers, and that is our most urgent economic job,” Clinton said.
Early Tuesday evening, Dole’s office said the senator had “no statement” on Clinton’s remarks. Dole has been negotiating with the administration on several points, including a bill that would give the U.S. a means to withdraw from the World Trade Organization — the body that would be created by GATT to oversee trade — after three rulings that are adverse to the U.S. He raised the issue of capital gains with the administration last week.
Meanwhile, the most senior Senate Democrat, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, called on Clinton to withdraw the Congressional vote on GATT until next year. The vote is scheduled for a lame-duck session that will start after Thanksgiving.
Byrd, who has expressed reservations about the GATT agreement for months, said he would support efforts to reduce tariffs but also noted that the WTO needs “close scrutiny” as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.
Also, three prominent Senate Republicans said Monday they opposed Dole’s efforts to link the agreement to a capital gains tax cut. Senators Phil Gramm (R., Tex.), Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) and Bob Packwood (R., Ore.) said GATT should be considered on its own merits.