Clinton Seeks Waiver on Barshefsky

Article excerpt

President Clinton yesterday asked Congress to waive a law that could complicate confirmation of Charlene Barshefsky as U.S. trade representative.

Mrs. Barshefsky, who has been acting U.S. trade representative since April, in the 1980s briefly advised the Canadian government on a lumber dispute with the United States.

The 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act prohibits anyone who has aided a foreign government in a trade dispute from filling a top job in the U.S. Trade Representative's Office.

Although the administration requested a waiver, it also pointed out that Mrs. Barshefsky was appointed a deputy in the office in 1993, before the law was passed.

Therefore, the limitations "do not apply to her . . . and it is appropriate that they not apply to her if she is appointed to be the United States trade representative," Mr. Clinton wrote.

The Senate Finance Committee tentatively has scheduled Mrs. Barshefsky's confirmation hearings for the week of Jan. 27. Committee Chairman William V. Roth Jr. yesterday voiced support for her confirmation. …