for American companies and workers. Over the next decade the global economy is expected to grow at three times the rate of the U.S. economy. Growth will be particularly powerful in many emerging markets. If we do not seize these opportunities, our competitors surely will. We must continue working hard to secure and enforce agreements that protect intellectual property rights and enable Americans to compete fairly in foreign markets. Trade agreement implementing authority is essential for advancing our nation’s economic interests. Congress has consistently recognized that the President must have the authority to break down foreign trade barriers and create good jobs. Accordingly, the Administration will work with Congress to fashion an appropriate grant of fast track authority.
The Administration will continue to press our trading partners—multilaterally, regionally and bilaterally—to expand export opportunities for U.S. workers, farmers and companies. We will position ourselves at the center of a constellation of trade relationships—such as the World Trade Organization, APEC, the Transatlantic Marketplace and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). We will seek to negotiate agreements, especially in sectors where the U.S. is most competitive—as we did in the Information Technology Agreement and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Financial Services and Telecommunications Services Agreements. As we look ahead to the next WTO Ministerial meeting, to be held in the United States in late 1999, we will aggressively pursue an agenda that addresses U.S. trade objectives. We will also remain vigilant in enforcing the trade agreements reached with our trading partners. That is why the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce created offices in 1996 dedicated to ensuring foreign governments are fully implementing their commitments under these agreements.
Promoting an Open Trading System
The successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade significantly strengthened the world trading system. The U.S. economy is expected to gain over $100 billion per year in GDP once the Uruguay Round is fully implemented. The Administration remains committed to carrying forward the success of the Uruguay Round and to the success of the WTO as a forum for openly resolving disputes.
We have completed the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) which goes far toward eliminating tariffs on high technology products and amounts to a global annual tax cut of $5 billion. We look to complete the first agreement expanding products covered by the ITA in 1998. We also concluded a landmark WTO agreement that will dramatically liberalize world trade in telecommunications services. Under this agreement, covering over 99 percent of WTO member telecommunications revenues, a decades old tradition of telecommunications monopolies and closed markets will give way to market opening deregulation and competition—principles championed by the United States.
The WTO agenda includes further negotiations to reform agricultural trade, liberalize service sector markets, and strengthen protection for intellectual property rights. At the May 1998 WTO Ministerial, members agreed to initiate preparations for these negotiations and to consider other possible negotiating topics, including issues not currently covered by WTO rules. These preparatory talks will continue over the course of the next year so that the next round of negotiations can be launched at the 1999 WTO ministerial meeting in the United States.
We also have a full agenda of accession negotiations with countries seeking to join the WTO. As always, the United States is setting high standards for accession in terms of adherence to the rules and market access. Accessions offer an opportunity to help ground new economies in the rules-based trading system and reinforce their own reform programs. This is why we will take an active role in the accession process dealing with the 32 applicants currently seeking WTO membership.
Through Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) negotiations of a Multilateral Agreement on Investment, we are seeking to establish clear legal standards on expropriation, access to binding international arbitration for disputes and unrestricted investment-related transfers across borders. Also in the OECD, the United States is taking on issues such as corruption and labor practices that can distort trade and inhibit U.S. competitiveness. We seeking to have OECD members outlaw bribery of foreign officials, eliminate the tax deductibility of foreign bribes, and promote greater transparency in government procurement. To date, our efforts on procurement have been concentrated in the World Bank and the regional development banks, but our initiative to pursue an agreement on transparency in WTO member procurement regimes should make an additional important contribution. We have also made important strides on labor issues. The WTO has endorsed the importance of core labor standards sought by the United States since the Eisenhower Administration—the right to organize and bargain collectively, and prohibitions against child labor and forced labor. We will continue pressing for better integration of the international core labor standards into the WTO’s work, including through closer WTO interaction with the International Labor Organization (ILO).
We continue to ensure that liberalization of trade does not come at the expense of national security or environmental protection. For example, the national security, law enforcement and trade policy communities worked together to make sure that the WTO agreement liberalizing global investment in telecommunications was consistent with U.S. national security interests. Moreover, our leadership in the Uruguay Round negotiations led to the incorporation of environmental provisions into the WTO agreements and creation of the Committee on Trade and Environment, where governments continue to pursue the goal of ensuring that trade and environment policies are mutually supportive. In addition, with U.S. leadership, countries participating in the Summit of the Americas are engaged in sustainable development initiatives to ensure that economic growth does not come at the cost of environmental protection.
In May 1998, President Clinton presented to the WTO a set of proposals to further U.S. international trade objectives:
• First, that the WTO make further efforts to eliminate trade barriers and pursue a more open global trading system in order to spur economic growth, better jobs, higher incomes, and the free flow of ideas, information and people.
• Second, that the WTO provide a forum where business, labor, environmental and consumer groups can provide regular input to help guide further evolution of the WTO. The trading system we build for the 21st century must ensure that economic competition does not threaten the livelihood, health and safety of ordinary families by eroding environmental and consumer protection or labor standards.
• Third, that a high-level meeting of trade and environmental officials be convened to provide direction for WTO environmental efforts, and that the WTO and the International Labor Organization commit to work together to ensure that open trade raises the standard of living for workers and respects core labor standards.
• Fourth, that the WTO open its doors to the scrutiny and participation of the public by taking every feasible step to bring openness and accountability to its operations, such as by opening its dispute settlement hearings to the public and making the briefs for those hearings publicly available.