Policy & Negotiation: | AB | CD | EF | GHIJ | KLMN | OPQR | ST | UVWXYZ |
Economic & Commercial Concepts: | ABCD | EFGH | IJKLMNOP | QRSTUVXYZ |
Trade Related Organizatons: | ABCDE | FGHIJK | LMNOPQ | RSTUVWXYZ |
US Trade Legislation: | A-Z |



Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD). See Economic Cooperation Organization.


Rio Group. A regional cooperation organization including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Central American representation in consultations is a rotating position, currently held by Honduras; Jamaica represents the Caribbean nations.



SECOFI. Mexico's Secretariat of Commerce and Industrial Development.


Services Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC). A policy-level committee that forms part of the private sector advisory system established by Congress to ensure that US trade policy and negotiating objectives reflect US commercial and economic interests. Members are appointed by the USTR, and are broadly representative of the spectrum of service industries in the United States.


Shoko Kaigisho. A Japanese organization roughly equivalent to the US Chamber of Commerce. See also Keidanren.


Sogo Shosha. A Japanese trading company. The term is customarily applied to the nine largest of such enterprises --i.e., Mitsui and Company, Sumitomo Corporation, C. Itoh and Company, Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Nissho Iwai, Tomen, .Kanematsu-Gosho, and Nichimen. A trading company may often function as leader of a keiretsu, but it is a separate entity .Most of Japan's foreign trade is done through trading companies; the nine sogo shoshas handle nearly half of Japanese imports and exports, and serve as screening mechanisms for imports that might be damaging to members of a keiretsu.


South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). A regional cooperation organization including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, founded in 1985. Objectives include establishment of a preferential trade area by 1997; the draft text of a South Asia Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPT A) is under negotiation.


South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA). A non-reciprocal preferential arrangement including Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Western Samoa, founded in 1981. Objectives include trade, investment, and industrial cooperation, aimed at redressing the unequal trade relationship of Australia and New Zealand with the small island economies in the Pacific region. Beneficiaries have been granted duty-free access to Australia and New Zealand for all products except sugar, textiles, clothing, footwear, steel, and passenger motor vehicles.


Southern African Customs Union (SACU). A customs union including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. SACU was founded in 1969, superseding a customs union among the participants dating from the colonial era. In October 1992, Pretoria called for replacing SACU with a new regional trade arrangement, indicating that financial transfers to its SACU partners under a common income pool arrangement had become unacceptably high. A common external tariff is in effect. SACU has been generally successful in liberalizing intra-regional trade, albeit behind high external trade barriers.


Southern African Development Community (SADC). A regional cooperation organization including Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It was signed August 1992, superseding the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference established by the Lusaka Declaration of 1980; ratification is pending. Objectives include economic integration through free movement of trade, capital, and labor; policy harmonization and project coordination; and eventual creation of a common market. Key details of implementation protocols have yet to be negotiated.


Southern Common Market ..Mercado Common del Sur (MERCOSUR) or Mercado Comum do Sul (MERCOSUL). A common market including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The agreement was signed in March 1991; it is to be fully implemented by December 1994 for Argentina and Brazil, and by December 1995 for Paraguay and Uruguay.




Tariff Commission. See US International Trade Commission.


Textiles Surveillance Board (TSB). A GATT standing committee responsible for overseeing the bilateral agreements between developed and developing countries under the Multifiber Arrangement (Sec. I).


Trade and Investment Council. A forum for bilateral consultations between the United States and various countries which have signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Sec. I) with Washington.


Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC). The steering group established at the outset of the GA 1T Uruguay Round (Sec. I) to oversee the negotiations. Also established were a Group of Negotiations on Goods, a Group of Negotiations on Services, and a Surveillance Body, all of which were subordinate to the TNC.


Trade Policy Research Centre. A London-based organization established in 1968 to promote independent research and discussion of international economic policy issues.


Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG). The sub cabinet interagency group responsible for developing and coordinating US policies on international trade and trade-related investment issues. The TPRG addresses particularly significant trade policy questions as well all issues on which agreement is not reached in the TPSC. The TPRG is administered by USTR and chaired by the Deputy US Trade Representative. Member agencies, represented on the TPRG at the Under Secretary level, include the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, State, Treasury, Labor, Justice, Defense, Interior, Transportation, and Energy, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisors, and the International Development Cooperation Agency; the National Economic Council and the National Security Council have a joint .representative. The US International Trade Commission is an observer. Representatives of other agencies also may be invited to specific meetings. See also National Economic Council.


Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC). The first-line operating group in the interagency mechanism for developing and coordinating US policies on international trade and trade-related investment issues. The TPSC is administered and chaired by USTR. Member agencies, represented on the TPSC at the senior civil servant level, include the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, State, Treasury, Labor, Justice, Defense, Interior, Transportation, and Energy, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisors, and the International Development Cooperation Agency; the National Economic Council and the National Security Council have a joint representative. The US International Trade Commission is a non-voting member. Representatives of other agencies also may be invited to specific meetings. Supporting the TPSC are more than 60 subcommittees and task forces focusing on specific topics, to which USTR assigns responsibilities for economic analysis through the interagency process. Conclusions and recommendations are then presented to the full TPSC as the basis for reaching interagency policy consensus. See also TPRG .




United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCTRAL). A specialized body of the United Nations established in 1966 to promote harmonization of international trade law. The Commission's functions include coordination of the work of various international organizations active in trade-United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCT AD). An organ of the UN General Assembly that has convened quadrennially since 1964 to discuss international economic and trade relations and measures that might be taken by industrial countries to accelerate the pace of economic development in LDCs. All members of the United Nations are members of UNCTAD; the Trade and Development Board handles day-to-day issues between UNCTAD sessions.


United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). A UN specialized agency established in 1966 to promote and accelerate the industrialization of LDCs. It provides a forum for consultations between industrial and developing countries concerning industrial development and provides technical assistance to LDCs. UNIDO headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.


US Chamber of Commerce. A federation of business, trade, and professional associations, state and local chambers of commerce, and American chambers of commerce abroad. The Chamber represents the business community's views on domestic and international economic policy issues; among its activities is maintenance of a trade negotiations information service. It is based in Washington, DC.


US Customs Service. An agency within the US Department of the Treasury charged with enforcement of the tariff acts and other laws relating to the importation of goods into the United States.


US International Trade Commission (ITC or USITRC). An independent regulatory and fact-finding agency of the US government whose members and staff make determinations of injury (Sec. I) and recommendations concerning industries or workers seeking relief from increasing import competition. In addition, upon the request of Congress or the President, the USITC conducts comprehensive studies of specific industries and trade problems, and the probable impact on specific US industries of proposed reductions in US tariffs and non-tariff barriers. The Commission may also undertake such studies on its own initiative. The USITC was established by the Trade Act of 1974 (Sec. IV) as the successor agency to the US Tariff Commission. Its six members are appointed to nine-year terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.


United States Trade Representative (USTR). An official in the Executive Office of the President with the rank of Ambassador, responsible for advising the President on the formulation and implementation of US trade policy and for working with Congress accordingly. The USTR has lead responsibility for coordinating US government positions in and conducting international trade negotiations. USTR is also the designation for the White House office headed by the US Trade Representative. Prior to the Trade Act of 1979, which established the Office of the USTR, the comparable official was known as the President's Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (STR), a position first established in the Trade Act of 1962 (Sec. IV).




Vise grad Group. See Central European Free Trade Agreement.




West African Economic Community or Communaute Economique de I' Afrique de l'Ouest (CEAO). A customs union including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. It was founded in 1973, superseding the Customs Union of West African States. Objectives include elimination of internal tariffs and non-tariff barriers to intra-regional trade; establishment of a common external tariff; freer labor mobility within the region; development of transportation and communications linkages; and harmonization of investment rules. Intra-regional trade in raw materials is largely duty-free. However, tariff-cutting procedures give members wide latitude to exclude sensitive products from liberalization, limiting coverage of manufactures and processed goods to products with little potential for intra-regional trade. Fewer than 500 products receive regional preferences. A community convention permitting free flow of migrant workers is in place.


West African Economic and Monetary Union or Union Economique et Monetaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA). A prospective customs union including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. It was approved by heads of state at the July 1992 summit of the West African Monetary Union; details of the treaty are under negotiation. Objectives include establishment of a customs union, and harmonization of tax policies and of legal and regulatory frameworks.


Whitehall. Britain's Foreign Ministry.


World Bank. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), commonly referred to as the World Bank, is an intergovernmental financial institution headquartered in Washington, D.C. Established in 1945 as part of the Bretton Woods system (Sec. I), its primary function is to make long-term, low-interest loans to developing countries.


World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). A specialized agency of the United Nations dealing with legal and administrative aspects of intellectual property -- such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks --and seeking to promote international cooperation in the protection of intellectual property rights (Sec. I). Among its treaties and agreements, WIPO administers the International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property (the Paris Union) formed to reduce discrimination in national patent practices, and the International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the Berne Union) formed to reduce discrimination in national copyright laws. WIPO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.


Zaibatsu. See keiretsu.



Adjustment Assistance. Relocation, reemployment, and financial assistance to workers, firms, and industries designed to help them adjust to import competition. Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) provided by the Trade Acts of 1974 and 1979 is designed to help an industry become more competitive or phase workers into other economic pursuits. Proponents claim that TAA can promote trade liberalization by facilitating shifts of resources from less productive to more productive industries. Critics argue that the T AA program --provided primarily in the form of a supplement to unemployment compensation --distorts incentives by compensating only workers who have failed to adjust to import competition.

Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954. See PL. 480.

Buy American Act. Legislation mandating preferential treatment for US products in the award of certain government contracts. The act is waived for purchases covered by the Government Procurement Code (Sec. I).

Escape Clause. (See also entry under same name in Section I). Provisions under US law authorizing temporary relief for domestic producers and workers injured by import competition. Originally limited to those whose losses resulted from prior US trade concessions, escape clause eligibility was extended in Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 to all who could establish that imports were "a substantial cause of serious injury, or the threat thereof' (see injury, Sec. /). The Trade Act of 1988 stipulated that the goal of any relief must be "positive adjustment." If the US International Trade Commission (USITC) finds injury and recommends relief, the President must grant it or report to Congress why, after reviewing the US national economic interest, he has decided there is no appropriate and feasible action to take. Congress may override this decision through enactment of a joint resolution, imposing the remedy recommended by the USITC. Import restrictions imposed under the escape clause authority usually last no longer than five years.

Exon-Florio Amendment. A measure attached to the Trade Act of 1988 to provide a means of monitoring foreign direct investment in the United States. The amendment .authorizes the President to block mergers and joint ventures with foreign interests, or acquisitions or takeovers of US companies by foreign interests, on grounds of national security. See Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (Sec. III).

Export Administration Acts of 1969 and 1977. Legislation providing authority for the President to limit or suspend exports of US commodities or technical data to foreign destinations in order to protect national security , to ensure against a drain of scarce goods, or to further foreign policy objectives.

Export Control Act. Legislation enacted in 1949 requiring that all commercial exports from the United States be licensed. Authority was granted to the President -- subsequently delegated to the Secretary of Commerce --to devise specific regulations to control exports. In the case of certain products such as munitions or narcotics, a "validated license" (i.e., explicit written authorization) was required for exportation to any destination; another cases, it was not the product but the destination (e.g., all shipments to Cuba) that was controlled. Largely incorporated within and superseded by the Export Administration Act.

Export Trading Company Act of 1982. Legislation designed to promote US exports by encouraging the foundation of export trading companies, and by modifying the application of antitrust laws and reducing restrictions on export financing for certain transactions. Title III of the Act permits the Department of Commerce, with the concurrence of the Department of Justice, to issue antitrust pre-clearance certificates on certain transactions involving the export of goods or services. Title IV of the Act amended two key elements of US antitrust law --the Sherman Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act --to exclude their application to export transactions, except where such activities have an anticompetitive impact on trade in the United States or the export trade of a US resident.

Fast-Track. Legislative procedures, originally set forth in Section 151 of the Trade Act of 1974 and extended in the Trade Act of 1988, designed to assure foreign governments that Congress will act expeditiously on a trade agreement negotiated with the United States, and will not "re-negotiate" the agreement by accepting pans of the deal while rejecting others. These procedures stipulate that once the President formally submits a bill to implement an international agreement concerning non-tariff trade barriers2 negotiated under the Act's authority , both Houses must vote on the bill within 90 days through an up-or-down vote, without possibility of amendments. Fast-track negotiating authority currently extends through 16 April 1994.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Legislation that prohibits US firms from making payments to foreign officials in order to influence their actions or to assist the firm in obtaining business.

Jones Act. A statute requiring that vessels carrying goods or passengers between US ports (see cabotage, Sec. /) must be built and documented in the United States and be, owned and operated by US citizens. The original Act dates from 1898, and was, subsequently incorporated into the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

Manufacturing Clause. A provision of US copyright law that restricts importation of certain printed materials not manufactured in the United States.

Meat Import Act of 1979. Legislation requiring the President to impose import quotas on fresh, chilled, and frozen beef, veal, mutton, and goat meat if the Secretary of Agriculture estimates annual imports will exceed a basic import level. The basic import level --approximately 7 percent of US domestic production --is modified annually by a production adjustment factor and a counter cyclical factor.

Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act. See Trade Act of 1988.

Peril Point. A hypothetical limit beyond which a reduction in tariff protection would cause serious injury to a domestic industry. US legislation in 1949 required the Tariff Commission to establish "peril points" for all US industries, and for the President to submit specific reasons to Congress if and when any US tariff was reduced below such levels. This requirement was an important constraint on US negotiating positions in early GATT Rounds ( Sec .I ), and was finally eliminated by the Trade Act of 1962.

P.L. 480. Full name is the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act. Legislation enacted in 1954 to assist LDC economic development through the ~ concessional sale or grant of US farm products. Title I of the Act authorizes low-interest, long-term financing of US farm exports to LDCs; payments for such sales are earmarked for use in the importing country to fund agricultural development projects and programs. Title II of the Act permits donation of US food products to countries suffering from famines or natural disasters. Title III established the Food for Peace Program and the Export Credit Guarantee Program of the Commodity Credit Corporation (Sec./V).

Proclamation Authority. Legislation delegating authority to the President --for a specified period and subject to certain guidelines --to negotiate and implement tariff reductions without having to seek congressional approval. (For provisions concerning trade agreements dealing with matters other than tariffs, see Fast-Track.)

Quasi-Judicial Procedures. Procedures through which law is made by regulatory agencies applying general statutes to specific cases. On trade issues, procedures administered by the International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce determine the eligibility of petitioners for import relief under the escape clause, countervailing duty , antidumping, or other trade statutes.

Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act. See Trade Act of 1934.

Section 22. A provision of the Agriculture Act of 1933 requiring the President to limit imports of agricultural products that could undermine or interfere with US farm programs.

Section 201. See escape clause.

Section 203. A provision of the Trade Act of 1974 providing authority to the President to negotiate Orderly Marketing Agreements (Sec. I) with foreign governments. OMAs are to be limited initially to a period of five years, and import relief must be phased down after three years unless the President determines that doing so would damage national interests. If such a determination is made, import relief may be extended for an additional three years. Products covered by contractually binding OMAs are listed in a separate appendix of the Tariff Schedules of the United States.

Section 204. A provision of the Agricultural Act of 1956 authorizing the President to negotiate bilateral agreements to limit exports to the United States of "any agricultural commodity or product manufactured there from or textiles or textile products." US participation in the Multifiber Arrangement (Sec. I) is based on Section 204 authority.

Section 232. A provision of the Trade Act of 1962 authorizing the President to restrict imports that threaten to impair US national security .On the basis of a formal investigation and report by the Department of Commerce --required within 270 days of initiation --the President must decide within 90 days what action should be taken to prevent national security impairment.

Section 301. Legislation establishing domestic procedures to enforce US rights under international trade agreements as well as to eliminate unfair foreign government trade practices that adversely affect US investment and exports of goods and services. Under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 as amended by the Trade Act of 1988 --the US Trade Representative is required to take appropriate action to obtain the removal of any policy or practice of a foreign government that violates a bilateral or multilateral trade agreement or is "unreasonable, unjustifiable, or discriminatory" and "burdens or restricts US commerce." Section 301 authorizes the President to retaliate against foreign countries that impose such burdens; such retaliation can take the form of suspending the benefits of trade concessions previously granted by the United States, or restrictions or fees on the trade of the offending nation. In addition to initiating Section 301 investigations based upon petitions by private parties, USTR also may initiate such investigations at its own discretion. See Special 301 and Super 301; see also discussion under retaliation in Section I..

Section 332. A provision of the Tariff Act of 1930 authorizing self-initiated or Presidentially-directed studies of domestic industries by the US International Trade Commission. Such studies may subsequently lead to investigations of foreign dumping or subsidization, or Section 301 cases.

Section 337. A provision of the Tariff Act of 1930 making it unlawful to engage in unfair acts or unfair methods of competition when importing or selling imported goods. Most Section 337 cases involve alleged violations of US patents, copyrights, or trademarks. See also Special 301.

Section 406. A provision of the Trade Act of 1974 giving the President authority to restrict imports of products from nonmarket-economy countries when the US International Trade Commission determines such imports cause or threaten market --.disruption (Sec. I).

Section 501. A provision of the Trade Act of 1974 providing for duty-free entry of merchandise imported from beneficiary developing countries under the Generalized ~ System of Preferences or GSP (Sec.1). Section 501 specifically excludes some countries --as well as certain products regardless of origin --from asp eligibility .Criteria are provided for withdrawing or suspending eligibility for asp treatment.

Sherman Act. Legislation enacted in 1890 making illegal all contracts, combinations, and conspiracies in restraint of trade, as well as monopolies and attempts to monopolize. See competition policy (Sec. II).

Smoot-Hawley Act. Formally known as the Tariff Act of 1930, the Smoot-Hawley tariff is regarded by many scholars as the high-water mark of an extremely protectionist period in US trade policy; all major trading nations were highly protectionist at the time, however. The Act raised tariffs on over 20,000 items to record levels, provoking retaliatory tariff increases by other countries. The cycle of retaliation and counter- retaliation led to a decline in world trade by roughly two-thirds, contributing significantly to the spread and deepening of the Great Depression.

Special 301. A provision of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Trade Act of 1988, requiring USTR to identify countries with a history of violating existing laws and agreements dealing with intellectual property rights (Sec. I). Countries with the poorest record of IPR protection --and with which negotiations on IPR protection have failed to make adequate progress --must be designated as "priority foreign countries" and are potentially subject to a Section 301 investigation on an accelerated timetable. USTR must make such designations each year within 30 days after issuance of the National Trade Estimate report (see Sec. I). In addition, USTR has established a "watch list" and "priority watch list" under Special 301, indicating countries in which there exist particular problems with respect to IPR protection, or problems of market access for exporters relying on intellectual property. Countries placed on the "priority watch list" are the focus of increased bilateral discussions concerning the problem areas.

Super 301. See Section 301. Under this amendment to the Trade Act of 1988, the US Trade Representative was required in 1989 and 1990 to designate "priority foreign countries" chosen for the number and pervasiveness of their policies or practices impeding US exports, and for the US export gains that might come from removal of those practices. The law called for retaliation (Sec. I) if foreign action was insufficient or not forthcoming.

Tariff Act of 1930. See Smoot-Hawley Act.

Trade Act of 1934 (Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, or RTA). Legislation that provided authority for the President to enter into bilateral agreements for reciprocal tariff reductions. The RT A was enacted in the midst of the Great Depression, and reflected declining public sympathy with protectionism in the wake of the Smoot-Hawley Act. By 1939, the United States had concluded 21 trade agreements with other countries under the RTA, and another 11 agreements were reached during the course of World War II.3 Through successive extensions and amendments, the RTA also authorized US participation in the first five GATT Rounds (Sec. I) of multilateral trade negotiations. It was eventually superseded by the Trade Act of 1962.

Trade Act of 1962 (Trade Expansion Act). Legislation granting the President authority to participate in multilateral trade negotiations subsequently known as the Kennedy Round (Sec. I), while also amending US escape clause procedures and establishing the Trade Adjustment Assistance (T AA) program. The Act also authorized appointment by the President of a Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (see discussion under USTR, Sec. II).

Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Reform Act). Legislation granting the President authority to participate in the Tokyo Round (Sec. I) and negotiate international agreements to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers. The Act, enacted in January 1975, also amended US law governing the escape clause, antidumping duties, and countervailing duties; expanded trade adjustment assistance; established guidelines for granting MFN trade status to East Bloc countries; and granted limited trade preferences to developing countries (see GSP , Sec. /).

Trade Act of 1979 (Trade Agreements Act). Legislation adopted under fast-track procedures ratifying and implementing the international trade agreements negotiated during the Tokyo Round (Sec. I) and making US law consistent with those agreements. (The agreements negotiated during the Tokyo Round were not self-executing and, accordingly, did not have independent effect under US law. The Act thus incorporated into US law the Tokyo Round agreements on countervailing and antidumping duties, customs valuation, government procurement, product standards, civil aircraft, meat and dairy products, and liquor duties.) The Act also extended the President's authority to negotiate agreements covering non-tariff barriers, and mandated reorganization of executive branch trade functions. The Act became effective on 19 June 1979.

Trade and Tariff Act of 1984. Legislation that extended the President's authority to grant trade preferences; authorized negotiation of bilateral free trade agreements (Sec. I); and provided authority to enforce export restraint agreements on steel. The Act also amended the countervailing duty and antidumping laws and clarified conditions under which unfair trade cases could be pursued under Section 301.

Trade Act of 1988 (Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act). The first comprehensive ("omnibus") trade legislation enacted by Congress in the postwar era. Its important features included strengthening of unilateral trade retaliation instruments (see Section 301 ); provision of fast-track negotiating authority for US participation in the Uruguay Round (Sec. I ); and enhancement of the authority of the US Trade Representative.

Trading With the Enemy Act. Legislation originally enacted in 1917, and amended in 1941, granting the President authority to prohibit or regulate trade, investments, remittances, travel, or any other economic transaction with any designated country or its nationals during times of war or national emergency.

Watch List. See Specia1301.

Webb-Pomerene Act. Legislation enacted in 1916 exempting from restrictions on monopolies and other trusts the activities of associations, which have "the sole purpose of engaging in export trade," provided their activities do not interfere with US markets.



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