Extension of U.S.
Trade-negotiating Authority (October 30, 2003)
Delegations to the World Trade Organization in Geneva are
struggling, following the Cancun debacle, to find a basis on which
to re-start the Doha Round negotiations. To most observers there
appears to be little chance now completing the negotiations by the
end of 2004.
If that turns out to be the case, it will be necessary for the U.S.
Administration to obtain a two-year extension of its
trade-negotiating authority, which expires on June 1, 2005. Many
have assumed that an extension would be almost automatic.
A note for the Cordell Hull Institute by Richard Rivers, a member of
the board, explains the provisions in the Bipartisan Trade Promotion
Act of 2002 for securing a two-year extension of U.S. negotiating
here for the note.) Mr
Rivers, a former General Counsel in the Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative, was head of the trade law practice at Akin Gump
Strauss Hauer & Feld, Washington, DC, in 1979-96.
First, the President of the United States has to submit to the
Congress by March 1, 2005, a report that lays out what has been
achieved under the authority and sets out why he wants more time.
The extension may be opposed by any member of the House of
Representatives or Senate introducing a "resolution of disapproval".
If no such resolution is passed, the President will have another two
years in which to complete negotiations, including the Doha Round
endeavor. But if such a resolution is passed by either house before
June 1, 2005, the authority is dead.
What this suggests is that a major consensus-building effort will be
required in the coming year, not only in the United States but also
at inter-governmental level, if the Doha Round negotiations are to
be "re-launched" in 2005 and completed by mid-2007.