US Republicans to Compromise on Labor, Environment at WTO's Qatar Meeting
The Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee at the US congress has reiterated both his intent to compromise with Democrats over labor and environmental standards related to trade and his opposition to using trade sanctions to enforce those standards, according to Washington File.
"My concern is that labor rights and the environment standards will be used as an excuse for protectionism," said Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman. "We cannot allow this to happen."
However, Grassley said that passing trade promotion authority in 2001 is one of the crucial steps for a successful World Trade Organization (WTO) ministers' meeting in November in Qatar.
Grassley made the comments in April 25 remarks to the European-American Business Council in Washington, where he argued again for Congress to pass trade promotion authority, also called fast track, for President Bush.
Under fast track, Congress restricts itself only to approve or reject a negotiated trade agreement, within strict time limits and without amendments. The previous grant of fast track expired early in 1994.
Since then attempts to reauthorize fast track have failed over labor and environmental issues.
Grassley said also the United States and EU should avoid aggravating any bilateral disputes in the months ahead.
Japan, the United States and the European Union are scheduled to meet next month to discuss plans for the launch of a new round of global trade talks, which have been earmarked for Qatar.
If the talks are held in Qatar, the Gulf state has promised it will allow peaceful demonstrations, said AFP.
Anti-globalization demonstrators rampaged through the streets of the US city of Seattle during the last WTO ministerial conference in November 1999, and seriously disrupted the meeting – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)