June 20, 2000
The Administration strongly opposes H.J.Res. 90, which would withdraw Congressional approval of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO), and urges the Congress to defeat this resolution. By opening foreign markets to U.S. goods and services and promoting U.S. values around the world, the WTO is vital to America's interests. The United States must continue to participate and lead in the WTO.
Though its origins date back more than fifty years, the WTO continues to be a critical forum for the United States to: (1) assert and advance U.S. interests in the global economy; (2) lower trade barriers and promote new opportunities for American workers, firms, and farmers; (3) advance the rule of law; and (4) promote economic stability and peace by giving nations stronger stakes in one another's prosperity and stability.
The United States is the world's largest trading nation and the leader of the global economy. U.S. participation in the WTO and its predecessor, the GATT, has contributed to the expansion of U.S. exports, which have risen by almost $260 billion since 1994. The Uruguay Round, which established the WTO, cut tariffs worldwide by over one-third and expanded trade disciplines for the first time to agriculture, services, and intellectual property rights. Subsequently, the WTO concluded landmark agreements in information technology products, financial services, and basic telecommunications, which provide new opportunities for U.S. goods and services.
If the United States did not participate in the WTO, we would: (1) expose ourselves to discrimination by virtually all other major trading nations; (2) weaken our ability to get other countries to abide by trade commitments; (3) threaten U.S. competitiveness and living standards; and (4) create uncertainty and risk in the U.S. and world economy. U.S. participation and leadership in the WTO is critical at this time. There are more than 30 nations, including some economies in transition, seeking to join the WTO, as well as a number of developing countries that are working to meet their WTO obligations. Withdrawal of Congressional support for the multilateral system would send precisely the wrong message to these countries.
U.S. participation in the WTO has been highly beneficial to the United States and the Administration will continue to work to improve the WTO and respond to constructive criticism. The United States has been a leader in urging the WTO to be more open and accessible to the public and in ensuring that it promotes environmental protection and supports U.S. efforts to improve respect for internationally recognized core labor standards.