Its been generally assumed for weeks that the Clinton Administration this year will not renew its failed attempt in 1997 to win Congressional passage of fast-track trade negotiating authority. Now a high-ranking Administration official has formally admitted as much.
In an interview May 5 with IW, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said it would be unrealistic this year to mount another try for the legislation. Election-year politics, the shortened legislative session, and the Administrations push for expanded funding of the International Monetary Fund, he explained, all would make it difficult to pick up the additional votes needed for passage.
Daley said that the Administration, in conjunction with business, have an education job to do to persuade opponents -- primarily labor and environmental interests -- of the benefits of expanded trade. He said that he has been talking with business leaders about launching a concerted campaign touting free trade to voters and politicians in hopes of winning passage next year.