April 17, 1997
The Administration strongly opposes S. 495 as a deficient and unworkable
alternative to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which has been ratified
by over 70 nations. This bill represents a unilateral approach to a global
problem that requires an international solution. S. 495 would place the United
States outside the CWC, would adversely affect U.S. national security and
economic interests, and would undermine U.S. leadership in fighting
transnational problems like proliferation and terrorism. By not ratifying the
CWC, the United States will begin to incur trade restrictions starting April
29th. The U.S. chemical industry estimates that this could result in hundreds
of millions of dollars in lost sales a year.
S. 495 contains neither the breadth nor depth of restrictions provided in the Convention for chemical weapons and for verification and it raises serious constitutional concerns. Under S. 495 only the United States would be required to eliminate its stockpile of chemical weapons. Moreover, S. 495 imposes only U.S. sanctions against countries that use chemical weapons and only U.S. penalties for terrorist activities committed in the United States or by U.S. citizens. In contrast, the Convention establishes a multilateral, global regime that will effectively fight the scourge of chemical weapons and terrorism.