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106th Congress                                               Exec. Rpt.
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                      106-20

======================================================================



 
      PROTOCOL AMENDING THE 1950 CONSULAR CONVENTION WITH IRELAND

                                _______
                                

               September 29, 2000.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

          Mr. Helms, from the Committee on Foreign Relations,
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                   [To accompany Treaty Doc. 106-43]

    The Committee on Foreign Relations, to which was referred 
the Protocol Amending the 1950 Consular Convention Between the 
United States of America and Ireland, signed at Washington on 
June 16, 1998 (Treaty Doc. 106-43), having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with the declaration and proviso 
indicated below, and recommends that the Senate give its advice 
and consent to the ratification thereof as set forth in this 
report and the accompanying resolution of ratification.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Summary..........................................................1
III. Entry Into Force and Termination.................................3
 IV. Committee Action.................................................3
  V. Committee Recommendation and Comments............................4
 VI. Text of Resolution of Ratification...............................4

                               I. Purpose

    The 1950 bilateral consular convention between the United 
States and Ireland exempts diplomatic and consular personnel 
from taxation in the receiving state subject to several 
exceptions. The Protocol would eliminate two of these 
exceptions.

                              II. Summary


                               A. GENERAL

    Prior to the negotiation of the Vienna Convention on 
Diplomatic Relations (23 UST 3227; TIAS 7502) in 1961, the 
privileges and immunities of diplomatic officials and personnel 
were well established in customary international law and 
generally honored in State practice. That was not the case with 
respect to consular officers and personnel. Customary 
international law regarding their status, privileges, and 
immunities at that time was fragmentary and uncertain. As a 
consequence, the establishment of consular relations between 
States depended largely on the negotiation of bilateral 
agreements. Many consular agreements, including the agreement 
with Ireland, included a provision that diplomats would not 
receive less favorable treatment than consular officers 
received under the particular agreement.
    The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (21 UST 77; 
TIAS 6820) was negotiated in 1963 and provided a detailed 
international legal framework for consular relations. The 
Convention also eliminated the need to negotiate separate 
bilateral agreements on consular relations by providing that 
consent to the establishment of diplomatic relations between 
States would also constitute consent to the establishment of 
consular relations, unless otherwise stated by the Parties 
(Article 2(2)). But in recognition of the numerous bilateral 
agreements concerning consular relations that already existed, 
Article 73 of the Convention provided that ``[t]he provisions 
of the present Convention shall not affect other international 
agreements in force as between States parties to them.'' In 
addition, Article 73 allowed new consular agreements to be 
negotiated: ``Nothing in the present Convention shall preclude 
States from concluding international agreements confirming or 
supplementing or extending or amplifying the provisions 
thereof.''
    Thus, the United States continues to have bilateral 
consular agreements with a number of states, even when both the 
United States and the other state are also Parties to the 
Vienna Convention. In the United States' view, if the bilateral 
agreement and the Vienna Conventions address the same subject 
matter, the more generous provision controls.
    Ireland and the United States are Parties to the Vienna 
Conventions as well as the 1950 bilateral Consular Convention. 
These Conventions provide a number of exemptions from taxes as 
well as a number of exceptions to the exemptions. Ireland 
interprets some of the key tax provisions of the Vienna 
Conventions more restrictively than does the United States. 
Thus, in order to provide the United States broader tax 
exemption, it was necessary for Ireland to conclude an 
agreement with the United States.

                           B. KEY PROVISIONS

    The 1950 bilateral agreement affords consular personnel and 
diplomats (but not their families) an exemption from ``all 
taxes or other similar charges of any kind which are or may be 
imposed or collected by the receiving state, or by any state, 
province, municipality, or other local subdivision thereof'' 
(Article 13(4)). That exemption is subject to several 
exceptions, including the two that are the subject of the 
Protocol.
    Article 13(5)(a) of the Consular Convention limits the tax 
exemption to those for which the officer or employee is 
personally liable and provides that it does not extend to taxes 
for which someone else is legally liable, notwithstanding that 
the burden of such a tax is passed on to the consular officer 
or employee.
    Article 13(5)(b)(iv) of the Consular Convention, in turn, 
excepts from the exemption ``taxes on transactions or 
instruments effecting transactions, such as taxes on the sale 
or transfer of money or property, or stamp duties imposed or 
collected in connection therewith * * *.''
    The Protocol would eliminate these exceptions. Articles 1 
and 2 provide generally that the Convention can be extended to 
include relief from the taxes for which Sec. Sec.  (5)(a) and 
(5)(b)(iv) of Article 13 of the bilateral agreement impose 
liability.
    Article 3 provides that the Embassy and career Consulates 
of the United States in Ireland ``shall be exempt from or be 
refunded all identifiable national, regional and municipal 
taxes whether or not incorporated in the price of goods or 
services supplied for official use.'' Article 3 also provides 
that an identical exemption applies to U.S. diplomatic agents 
and administrative and technical staff of the Embassy, consular 
officers and employees, and the members of their families 
forming part of their households. The exemption extends not 
only to goods or services supplied for official use but also to 
those supplied for personal use.
    Article 3 further provides reciprocal exemptions to Ireland 
regarding ``federal, state and municipal taxes on the purchase 
or sale of goods and services supplied for official use'' and, 
in the case of individuals, for personal use as well.
    Article 4 states that the Parties ``agree that a special 
reciprocal administrative arrangement will apply in respect of 
relief of taxation on motor vehicles.''
    Article 5 denotes that the Protocol does not ``prejudice'' 
the positions of either the United States or Ireland regarding 
their interpretations of the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic 
and consular relations and, further, that the tax exemption 
granted by the United States under the Protocol has ``the same 
scope as the grant of tax exemption accorded by the United 
States in implementation of the said Vienna Conventions.''

                 III. Entry Into Force and Denunciation


                          A. ENTRY INTO FORCE

    The Protocol will enter into force 30 days after 
notification by both Parties that their ``domestic requirements 
for its entry into force have been completed.''

                             B. TERMINATION

    The Protocol may be terminated by either Party on six 
months notice.

                          IV. Committee Action

    The Committee on Foreign Relations held a public hearing on 
the proposed Protocol on September 12, 2000, (a transcript of 
the hearing and questions for the record can be found in Senate 
hearing 106-660 entitled, ``Consideration of Pending 
Treaties''). The Committee considered the proposed Protocol on 
September 27, 2000, and ordered it favorably reported by voice 
vote, with the recommendation that the Senate give its advice 
and consent to the ratification of the proposed Protocol 
subject to the declaration and proviso noted below.

                V. Committee Recommendation and Comments

    The Committee on Foreign Relations recommends favorably the 
proposed Protocol. The Committee believes that the proposed 
Protocol is in the interest of the United States and urges the 
Senate to act promptly to give its advice and consent to 
ratification.

               VI. Text of the Resolution of Ratification

      Resolved, (two thirds of the Senators present concurring 
therein), That the Senate advise and consent to the 
ratification of the Protocol Amending the 1950 Consular 
Convention Between the United States of America and Ireland, 
signed at Washington on June 16, 1998 (Treaty Doc. 106-43), 
subject to the declaration of subsection (a) and the proviso of 
subsection (b).
      (a) Declaration.--The Senate's advice and consent is 
subject to the following declaration, which shall be binding 
upon the President:
            Treaty Interpretation.--The Senate affirms the 
        applicability to all treaties of the constitutionally 
        based principles of treaty interpretation set forth in 
        Condition (1) of the resolution of ratification of the 
        INF Treaty, approved by the Senate on May 27, 1988, and 
        Condition (8) of the resolution of ratification of the 
        Document Agreed Among the States Parties to the Treaty 
        on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, approved by the 
        Senate on May 14, 1997.
      (b) Proviso.--The resolution of ratification is subject 
to the following proviso, which shall not be included in the 
instrument of ratification:
            Supremacy of the Constitution.--Nothing in this 
        Protocol requires or authorizes legislation or other 
        action by the United States of America that is 
        prohibited by the Constitution of the United States as 
        interpreted by the United States.