June 14,1999

Roth Releases Trade Proposals

Customs Authorization Act, CBI, GSP, TAA, and the Steel Trade Enforcement Act Will Be Acted on By Committee Wednesday

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today released his "marks" for five trade bills that the full Committee will mark up this week.

The mark up will take place on Wednesday, June 16 at 10:00 am in room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to consider a series of trade bills. The five bills include legislation authorizing the Customs Service; addressing the global steel glut; expanding tariff preferences for the hurricane-hit Caribbean nations; reauthorizing the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and extending the General System of Preferences for two years.

"These trade initiatives represent the first steps by the Committee following extensive hearings this year on U.S. trade policy and oversight of the Customs Service. These measures are all strong reflections of the Committee's commitment to rebuilding the bipartisan consensus on trade. They range from the mutually beneficial extension of preferences to our Caribbean neighbors to the nuts and bolts work product of enforcing the nation's borders. These measures are also the most time-sensitive bills before the Committee. I want to be clear that this is only the first set of trade initiatives the Committee will take up," Roth stated.

Summaries (conceptual marks) detailing the Chairman's mark on each of the bills will be on the Committee's web site (www.senate.gov/~finance) Monday afternoon. The legislative language will be on the web site later today. Hard copies of the summaries and the legislative language are available for the media only in the front office of the Finance Committee in room 219 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. Most of the summaries and all of the bills are too long to fax.


The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program was last reauthorized in P.L. 105-277, the omnibus appropriations bill passed at the end of the 105th Congress. It is set to expire on June 30, 1999. This bill will reauthorize the program.

The Generalized System of Preferences was also last extended in the final omnibus appropriations measure of the 105th Congress and is set to expire on June 30, 1999. This legislation will extend the program.

The U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Enhancement Act. This legislation would expand the existing CBI by providing for additional tariff preferences on a number of products not previously covered by the program. Those benefits are conditioned on the eligible beneficiary countries' trade policies, their participation and cooperation in the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas Agreement and other factors.

H.R. 1833, the Customs Authorization Act of 1999. This proposal is the product of the Committee's extensive oversight of the Customs Service this Congress. The proposal would authorize additional appropriations for personnel, inspection technology, and implementation of the Automated Commercial Environment ("ACE"). It would also make changes to the Customs Management Structure, establish reporting requirements on use of the appropriations authorized and oblige Customs to provide reform proposals with respect to certain existing user fees.

The Steel Trade Enforcement Act is designed to eradicate the overcapacity in the global steel industry caused by factors such as market barriers overseas, anticompetitive behavior, subsidization and unstable currency management.