U.S. Government Is Right to Fight World Trade Organization Ruling
In her March 22 Op-Ed article, "Mr. Kantor, meet Mr. Buchanan," Judith H. Bello argues that the Clinton administration should simply accept as fair the World Trade Organization's (WTO) recent ruling that U.S. clean-air regulations unjustly discriminate against foreign-refined gasoline.
Ms. Bello, a senior U.S. trade official in the second Reagan administration, adds that supporting this WTO decision will ensure that U.S. exports are protected against similar barriers erected by other countries.
Yet the U.S. regulation in question was not a protectionist gimmick - like the notorious ban Tokyo placed on foreign-made skis because they were allegedly unsafe on Japanese snow. Instead, it flowed from a real-world problem faced by American regulators, and discriminated not on the basis of nationality, but documentable performance.
All refiners, foreign and domestic, that are unable to prove their gasoline has become 15 percent cleaner since 1990, are subjected to the stricter standard. The WTO, however, high-handedly ruled that such practical considerations - which all policy-makers face - could not outweigh the trade effects of a national law or regulation, however incidental. …