Will Trade Negotiators Be Sleeping After Seattle?

U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and more than 100 of her counterparts from around the world will meet in Seattle in November. A new round of international trade talks aimed in part at eliminating the remaining industrial tariffs in developed countries could be one result of the sessions. Indeed, the 15-nation European Union is pushing an ambitious agenda that also includes new rules governing investment (an attempt to write such a set of standards in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development recently failed), and rules designed to reduce business costs when international mergers and acquisitions are subjected to differing antitrust statutes. However, it's unlikely that a new global round of negotiations will move forward quickly unless the U.S. Congress grants the President so-called fast-track negotiating authority. President Clinton currently lacks the power to send Congress an agreement for a no-amendments-allowed, up-or-down vote.

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