President Bill Clinton and Senate Republican leader Bob Dole
reached their own accord Wednesday on the General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the proposed world trade pact.
Their agreement, the first example of bipartisan cooperation
since this month's election, clears the way for action next week by
the lame-duck Democratic Congress. It was announced in a rare joint
appearance in the White House Rose Garden.
Surrounded by Cabinet members and senior senators, Clinton
announced the agreement between him and Dole, who will become
Senate Majority Leader in January. In that capacity he will be the
man whose support the White House will need for virtually every
piece of legislation it wants over the next two years.
"Today we have moved one step closer toward gaining broad
bipartisan support for . . . the largest, most comprehensive trade
agreement in world history," the president said.
He expressed his "deep thanks" to Dole and his "appreciation .
. . for the very constructive working relationship that we have
In agreeing to support the GATTlegislation, Dole retreated from
his demand for for a cut in the capital-gains tax, and promised to
tell GOP senators "we ought to be all in support of GATT when it
comes up next week."
"There should be a big, big vote - not a narrow vote, but a big
margin, a bipartisan margin," Dole said.
Dole had threatened to hold GATT hostage against White House
support of a reduction in the 28 percent tax on profits on sales of
securities, real estate and certain other assets. Republicans
generally have put the capital gains issue at the top of their
agenda, maintaining stubbornly that the increased economic activity
that the cut would stimulate would yield more in federal taxes than
would be lost though the cut.
Vote Next Week
The 123-nation pact would reduce tariffs worldwide by about a
third and offer more protection for American patents and copyrights.
It is scheduled for a vote Wednesday in the House, where it is
expected to pass easily with bipartisan support, and Dec. 1 in the
Senate, where a more slender margin is predicted.
Administration officials, facing the defection of senior
Democratic senators Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia and Ernest F.
Hollings of South Carolina, conceded they could not win the fight
The administration granted Dole's demand for separate
legislation next year making it easier for the United States, if
necessary, to withdraw from the World Trade Organization, which
would be set up to police the new trade accord.
A panel of five retired judges would review decisions of the
World Trade Organization. The panel could recommend that the U.S.
pull out of the World Trade Organization if the international
organization rendered three decisions within five years that the
judges considered unjustified.
The GATT accord already allows any country to withdraw with six
months notice, but U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said
Dole's suggestion strengthened that protection.
"It will assure us that we have put suspenders on with our