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Statement by the President Upon Signing the Trade Agreements Extension Act.

June 16, 1951

I HAVE today signed H.R. 1612, the "Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951." The act extends until June 12, 1953, the authority of the President to enter into reciprocal trade agreements with other countries and, in connection with these agreements, to make certain changes in United States tariff rates.

By extending this authority by an overwhelming majority, the Congress has reaffirmed its continued adherence to a program which has been a cornerstone of United States foreign policy for 17 years. Under this authority the trade agreements program will be administered with the same spirit and the same objectives that have animated it from the beginning. Through our trade agreements with other nations, and in particular through the multilateral trade agreement known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the United States will continue its efforts with other countries to expand trade by the reduction or elimination of barriers, and thus to build up the strength of the free world.

In signing the Trade Agreements Extension Act, however, I must point out that some of the new procedural provisions are cumbersome and superfluous. Although these provisions are intended to insure that American producers will not suffer serious injury from the operation of the program, they do not materially add to the safeguards which already exist under present administrative procedures.

I am very much concerned at the fact that some of these new provisions single out particular types of products for special consideration. One of the basic principles of the trade agreements program, repeatedly enunciated in the Congress, is that the Congress should confine its legislative mandate in this field to general principles. The dangers of reverting to product-by-product legislation in the field of tariffs are obvious.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 1612 is Public Law 50, 82d Congress (65 Stat. 72).

Harry S Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Trade Agreements Extension Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230142

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