Dole Tells Clinton He'll Support GATT Deal Should Ensure Passage of World Trade Pact
The, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
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 had."
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 without Dole.
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 belt. …