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October 10, 1998
The Administration supports the objectives of H.R. 4761, and is committed
to taking all necessary action to ensure full and timely EU compliance with
its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations in the trade disputes cited
in this legislation. The Administration, however, strongly opposes H.R.
4761 because it mandates and micro-manages WTO litigation as well as the
details of how the President applies the leverage of both U.S. trade laws
and WTO rulings to open the EU market. It is an unprecedented intrusion
into the operational details of USTR's implementing authority.
The Administration is pursuing three separate tracks with respect to the dispute involving EU banana imports. These include: (1) continuing to indicate to the EU our willingness to try to resolve the dispute in a mutually acceptable manner consistent with WTO rules; (2) preserving our rights in the WTO dispute settlement process; and (3) proceeding under section 306 of the Trade Act of 1974.
By limiting the President's discretion and directing the specific details of how the Trade Representative pursues this three-track approach, H.R. 4761 will undermine our ability to achieve a meaningful solution for U.S. interests and weaken our hand in these trade disputes.