Summary: S.1269 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1269. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (10/08/1997)

Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1997 - Sets forth the purposes of this Act, which are, through trade agreements affording mutual benefits, to achieve: (1) more open, equitable, and reciprocal market access for U.S. goods, services, and investment; (2) the reduction or elimination of barriers and other trade-distorting policies and practices; (3) a more effective system of international trading disciplines and procedures; and (4) economic growth, higher living standards, and full employment in the United States, and economic growth and development among U.S. trading partners.

(Sec. 2) Sets forth the principal U.S. trade negotiating objectives for agreements regarding tariff barriers and agreements regarding tariff and non-tariff barriers.

Declares that the principal U.S. trade negotiating objectives regarding a reduction of barriers to trade in goods include eliminating specified tariffs for products identified in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding trade in services are: (1) reducing or eliminating barriers to, or other distortions of, international trade in services, including regulatory and other barriers that deny national treatment or unreasonably restrict the establishment and operation of service suppliers in foreign markets; and (2) developing internationally agreed rules, including dispute settlement procedures, that are consistent with U.S. commercial policies and will reduce or eliminate such barriers or distortions, and help ensure fair, equitable opportunities for foreign markets.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding foreign investment are: (1) reducing or eliminating artificial or trade-distorting barriers to foreign investment, expanding the principle of national treatment, and reducing unreasonable barriers to establishment; and (2) developing internationally agreed rules through the negotiation of investment agreements, including dispute settlement procedures, that will help ensure a free flow of foreign investment and will reduce or eliminate the trade distortive effects of certain trade-related investment measures.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding intellectual property are: (1) promoting adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights; (2) securing fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory market access opportunities for U.S. persons that rely on intellectual property protection; and (3) recognizing that the inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WT0) of adequate and effective substantive norms and standards for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and dispute settlement provisions and enforcement procedures is without prejudice to other complementary initiatives undertaken in other international organizations.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding agriculture are, in addition to those set forth in the Food Security Act of 1985, achieving on an expedited basis to the maximum extent feasible, more open and fair conditions of trade in agricultural commodities.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding unfair trade practices are: (1) enhancing the operation and effectiveness of the relevant Uruguay Round Agreements and any other agreements designed to define, deter, discourage the persistent use of, and otherwise discipline, unfair trade practices having adverse trade effects, including forms of subsidy and dumping not adequately disciplined; and (2) obtaining the enforcement of WTO rules against trade-distorting practices of state trading enterprises and the acts, practices, or policies of any foreign government which, as a practical matter, unreasonably require that substantial direct investment in the foreign country be made, intellectual property be licensed to the foreign country or to any firm of the foreign country or other collateral concessions be made, as a condition for the importation of any product or service of the United States into the foreign country or as a condition for carrying on business in the foreign country.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding safeguards are: (1) improving and expanding rules and procedures covering safeguard measures; (2) ensuring that safeguard measures are transparent, temporary, degressive, and subject to review and termination when no longer necessary to remedy injury and to facilitate adjustment; and (3) requiring notification of, and to monitor the use by, WTO members of import relief actions for their domestic industries.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding improvement of the WTO and multilateral trade agreements are: (1) improving the operation and extending the coverage of the WTO and such agreements to products, sectors, and conditions of trade not adequately covered; and (2) expanding country participation in particular agreements, where appropriate.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding dispute settlement are: (1) providing for effective and expeditious dispute settlement mechanisms and procedures in any trade agreement entered into under this authority; and (2) ensuring that such mechanisms within the WTO and agreements concluded under the auspices of the WTO provide for more effective and expeditious resolution of disputes and enable better enforcement of U.S. rights.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objective regarding transparency is to obtain broader application of the principle of transparency through increased public access to information regarding trade issues, clarification of the costs and benefits of trade policy actions, and the observance of open and equitable procedures by U.S. trading partners and within the WTO.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding developing countries are: (1) ensuring that developing countries promote economic development by assuming the fullest possible measure of responsibility for achieving and maintaining an open international trading system by providing reciprocal benefits and assuming equivalent obligations with respect to their import and export practices; and (2) establishing procedures for reducing nonreciprocal trade benefits for the more advanced developing countries.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objective regarding current account surpluses is to promote policies to address large and persistent global current account imbalances of countries by imposing greater responsibility on such countries to undertake policy changes aimed at restoring current account equilibrium through expedited implementation of trade agreements where feasible and appropriate.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objective regarding access to high technology is to obtain the elimination or reduction of foreign barriers to, and acts, policies, or practices by foreign governments which limit, equitable access by U.S. persons to foreign-developed technology.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objective regarding border taxes is, within the WTO, to obtain a revision of the treatment of border adjustments for internal taxes in order to redress the disadvantage to countries that rely primarily on direct taxes rather than indirect taxes for revenue.

Declares that the principal U.S. negotiating objectives regarding regulatory competition are: (1) ensuring that foreign government regulations and other government practices do not unfairly discriminate against U.S. goods, services, or investment; and (2) preventing the use of foreign government regulation and other government practices, including the lowering of, or derogation from, existing labor, health and safety, or environmental standards, for the purpose of attracting investment or inhibiting U.S. exports.

States that it is U.S. policy to reinforce the trade agreements process by: (1) fostering stability in international currency markets and developing mechanisms to assure greater coordination, consistency, and cooperation between international trade and monetary systems and institutions in order to protect against the trade consequences of significant and unanticipated currency movements; (2) supplementing and strengthening standards for protection of intellectual property rights under conventions designed to protect such rights that are administered by non-WTO international organizations, expanding the conventions to cover new and emerging technologies, and eliminating discrimination and unreasonable exceptions or pre-conditions to such protection; (3) promoting respect for workers' rights; and (4) expanding the production of goods and trade in goods and services to ensure the optimal use of the world's resources while seeking to protect and preserve the environment and to enhance the international means for doing so.

(Sec. 3) Sets forth the authority of the President to enter trade agreements with foreign countries regarding tariff and non-tariff barriers. Allows the President to enter into such agreements before October 1, 2001 (or before October 1, 2005, if trade authorities are extended according to a specified congressional procedure). States that a trade agreement may be entered only if it makes progress in meeting the applicable objectives, and the President satisfies certain congressional consultation requirements, set forth in this Act.

Declares that bills implementing trade agreements may qualify for congressional trade agreement approval (fast-track) procedures only if they consist solely of: (1) provisions approving a trade agreement entered into under this Act that achieves one or more of the principal negotiating objectives set forth above, and approving any statement of administrative action; (2) provisions that are necessary to implement such agreement or otherwise related to the implementation, enforcement, and adjustment to the effects of such trade agreement and are directly related to trade; and (3) provisions necessary to comply with budget offset requirements of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act).

Provides for extension of fast-track procedures to agreements entered into on or after October 1, 2001, and before October 1, 2005, upon the President's request if neither House of the Congress adopts an extension disapproval resolution according to a specified procedure.

(Sec. 4) Prescribes requirements for presidential notice and consultation with the Congress before negotiations on tariff and nontariff barrier agreements. Requires the President to consult with specified congressional committees before entering an agreement. Provides that in the course of negotiations conducted under this Act, the United States Trade Representative shall consult closely and on a timely basis (including immediately before initialing an agreement) with, and keep fully apprised of the negotiations, the congressional advisers for trade policy and negotiations appointed under the Trade Act of 1974, the Committee on Finance of the Senate, and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives.

(Sec. 5) Requires the President to notify the Congress within 90 days of entering an agreement.

Requires the President, within 60 days of signing an agreement, to submit to the Congress a preliminary list of changes to existing laws considered mandatory to bring the United States into compliance with the agreement.

Provides that fast-track procedures shall not apply to any implementing bill that contains a provision approving any agreement regarding tariff and non-tariff barriers with any foreign country if the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives disapprove of the negotiation of the agreement before the close of the 90-calendar day period that begins when notice is provided with respect to the negotiation of such agreement.

Authorizes both Houses of Congress to adopt, within 60 days of each other, a procedural disapproval resolution denying fast-track to any trade agreement if the President has failed or refused to notify or consult with the Congress about it.

(Sec. 6) Exempts from notice and certain consultation requirements of this Act agreements that result from negotiations which were commenced before the enactment of this Act: (1) under the auspices of WTO regarding trade in information technology products; (2) pursuant to a Uruguay Round Agreement; or (3) with Chile.

(Sec. 8) Amends the Trade Act of 1974 to authorize appropriations to the Departments of Labor and of Commerce through FY 2000 for trade adjustment assistance (TAA) for workers and for firms, respectively.

Postpones termination of the TAA programs until the end of FY 2000.

(Sec. 9) Amends the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 to extend from FY 1997 through 1998 the inapplicability of the exemption for certain customs services fees involving the arrival of any passenger whose journey originated in Canada or Mexico, or originated in the United States but was limited to those countries.