To the Congress of the United States:
I am today transmitting to the Congress, pursuant to Section 102 of the Trade Act of 1974, the texts of the trade agreements negotiated in the Tokyo Round of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations and entered into in Geneva on April 12, 1979.
With these agreements, I am submitting the proposed Trade Agreements Act of 1979, which will revise domestic law as required or appropriate to implement the Geneva agreements, and fulfill our international commitment.
These agreements offer new opportunities for all Americans.
—For American farmers the agreements expand world markets for American farm products.
—For American workers, the agreements offer more jobs, higher incomes, and more effective responses to unfair foreign competition.
—For American businesses, the agreements will open major new markets overseas for American products.
—For American consumers, the agreements will make available a wider choice of goods at better prices.
In short, the agreements mean a stronger, more prosperous, more competitive American economy. They mean lower inflation rates and a more favorable balance of trade.
These agreements bring to a successful conclusion the most ambitious and comprehensive effort undertaken by the international community since World War II to revise the rules of international trade and to achieve a fairer, more open, world trading system. They come at a time when intense pressures around the world threaten to disrupt the international trading system.
Representatives of ninety-nine nations worked for five years to reduce or remove thousands of specific barriers to trade-including both tariff and nontariff barriers-and to develop new rules which will govern the international trading system in the coming decades.
Since World War II, a period of remarkable trade expansion, our experience teaches us that international trade brings strength and growth to economies throughout the world. It serves the cause of peace by enriching the lives of people everywhere.
By responding to the needs of today's rapidly changing world economy, these agreements ensure that growing prosperity and growing interdependence through increased trade will continue to benefit all nations.
World trade has expanded more than six-fold since completion of the Kennedy Round of trade negotiations in 1967, and now exceeds $1.3 trillion annually.
Our nation is much more heavily dependent on trade than in the past. Today, one of every three acres in America produces food or fiber for export. One of every seven manufacturing jobs in our country depends on exports.
Economic interdependence will continue to increase in the future—and so will our opportunities.
Approval and implementation by the Congress of the Tokyo Round Agreements will be the first important step toward realizing those opportunities by building a solid foundation for continued strong growth of trade. The package assembled under the direction of Robert Strauss, my Special Trade Representative, is an achievement which represents vast potential for the American economy.
The most important achievement of the Tokyo Round is a series of codes of conduct regulating nontariff barriers to trade. The code agreements are described more fully in the attachments to this Message. Also attached is a statement of administrative action detailing executive branch implementation of these laws. These agreements will accomplish the following:
—Codes on subsidies and countervailing duties and on anti-dumping will limit trade distortions arising from such practices, and will give signatories to the agreements the right to challenge and counteract such practices when they cause material injury or breach agreed rules.
—An agreement on technical barriers to trade will require countries to use fair and open procedures in adopting product standards.
—An agreement on government procurement will open purchases by all signatory governments to bids from foreign producers.
—An agreement on customs valuation will encourage predictable and uniform practices for appraising imports for the purpose of assessing import duties.
—An agreement on import licensing will reduce unnecessary or unduly complicated licensing requirements.
—An agreement on civil aircraft will provide a basis for fairer trade in this important U.S. export sector.
—In the agricultural sector, specific product concessions from our trading partners and international commodity arrangements will enhance export opportunities. An agreement on a multilateral agricultural framework will provide a forum for future consultations on problems arising in agricultural trade.
—Tariff reductions have been carefully negotiated in close consultation with American industry and labor, and will be phased in over the next eight years.
Agreements on the international trading framework will accomplish the following:
—tighten procedures for handling international trade disputes,
—respond to the needs of developing countries in a fair and balanced manner, while increasing their level of responsible participation in the trading system,
—modernize the international rules applicable to trade measures that can be taken in response to balance-of-payments emergencies,
—provide a basis for examining the existing international rules on export and import restraints.
The agreements meet the major objectives and directives of the Trade Act of 1974. They provide new opportunities for U.S. exports. They help fight inflation by assuring access to lower-cost goods for both U.S. consumers and U.S. industries. They strengthen our ability to meet unfair foreign trade practices, and assure that U.S trade concessions are matched by reciprocal trade benefits for U.S. goods.
Throughout the negotiating process, these talks were conducted with an unprecedented degree of participation and advice from Congress, American industrial and agricultural communities, labor, and consumers alike.
Through continued cooperation and aggressive application and enforcement of the provisions of these agreements, we can ensure a fair and open international trading system, and usher in a new era of effective joint efforts by business, labor and government.
These agreements will make it possible for us to demonstrate, through vigorous and peaceful action, that the free enterprise system of the United States is the best economic system in the world now and in the future. They are also a central element in my program to stimulate domestic economic growth, to control inflation, and to expand our exports.
Therefore, in the interest of strengthening our economy and the international trading system, I urge immediate approval and implementation of the Tokyo Round Agreements by the Congress.
The White House,
June 19, 1979.