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Memorandum From the President on International Trade Agreements

January 04, 1979

Memorandum for the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations

I have today sent the attached notices to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. These notices shall be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER.


Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

We have an important opportunity this year to build a new and 'better approach to international trade. The first important step depends on acceptance and implementation by the Congress of the agreements reached in the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations. We are now within sight of a successful conclusion to these negotiations. I am confident that the results will embody the U.S. objectives outlined by the Congress in the Trade Act of 1974 and developed in close consultation with members of the Congress, their staffs, and our private-sector advisors. Neither Bob Strauss, my Special Trade Representative, nor I will accept anything less on behalf of the United States.

The progress of the negotiations is such that I can notify the Congress at this time of our intention to enter into several international agreements dealing mainly with non-tariff trade matters. These agreements, to which Congress gave a high priority in its mandate for the negotiations, are intended primarily to ensure that the international trading system is both fair and open. The agreements are listed and identified below and are described more fully in an attachment to this letter.

• An agreement on subsidies and countervailing duties will limit trade-distorting subsidy practices and will enunciate more clearly the right of the United States and others to counteract such practices. The agreement may provide for a number of conforming changes in the international Anti-dumping Code.

• An agreement on safeguards in response to a specific Congressional directive, will ensure that countries observe international trading rules when temporarily limiting imports that are injuring domestic industries.

• An agreement on technical barriers to trade or standards will require countries to use fair and open procedures in the adoption of product standards and related practices that affect international trade.

• An agreement on government procurement will increase opportunities for American and other exporters to bid for sales to foreign governments.

• An agreement on licensing will reduce the extent to which unnecessary or unduly complicated import licensing requirements impede trade.

• An agreement on customs valuation will encourage more uniform methods of appraising imports for the purpose of applying import duties.

• An agreement on commercial counterfeiting will promote cooperation and uniform approaches for this growing trade problem.

• An agreement on aircraft will provide a basis for fairer trade in this important U.S. export sector.

• Agreements to improve the international trading framework will tighten the handling of international trade disputes, respond to needs of developing countries in a fair and balanced manner, modernize the international rules applicable to trade measures taken in response to balance-of-payments emergencies, and provide a basis for examining the existing international rules on export and import restraints, while currently strengthening those rules through improvements in the dispute-settlement procedures.

Several other agreements on tariff and non-tariff matters have been negotiated in response to specific requests that were made by the United States or other countries. These agreements are described in the attachments.

In addition, members of the Administration will be consulting with the Congress about the implementation of several agreements on agricultural trade that we intend to enter into at about the time the Tokyo Round is concluded. These agreements will provide for a fairer international sharing of the burdens in international wheat trade, and will encourage consultations and cooperation on international trade in coarse grains, meat, and certain dairy products. The agricultural agreements are also expected to improve the application of accepted international trading rules to agricultural trade.

In accordance with procedures specified in the Trade Act, the United States will not enter into the agreements outlined above for the next 90 calendar days. After the agreements have been signed, they will be submitted for Congressional approval, together with whatever legislation and administrative actions may be needed to implement the agreements in the United States. The agreements will not take effect with respect to the United States, and will have no domestic legal force, until the Congress has specifically approved them and enacted any appropriate implementing legislation.

During Congressional consideration of these agreements, we will also supply information on the related negotiations to reduce, harmonize, or eliminate tariff barriers, and on the recent establishment of an International Steel Agreement in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The success of the Tokyo Round and its implementation will be the product of a good working relationship among the Congress, the Administration, and the American public. Through these agreements and their domestic implementation, we can construct trade policies and institutions that advance our national interest and enhance the prosperity of our people. I look forward to our working together to complete this effort.


[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:07 p.m., January 4, 1979]

Note: The notices are printed in the FEDERAL REGISTER of January 8, 1979.

Jimmy Carter, Memorandum From the President on International Trade Agreements Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249556

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