Morrie Goodman (202-482-4883)
January 11, 2000
of Commerce William M. Daley and USTR Charlene Barshefsky
Establish New Procedures for Advice from Non-Governmental Organizations
D.C.--Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley and United States
Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky jointly announced today
an initiative to enhance opportunities for interested environmental,
consumer, and other non-governmental organizations to provide
their views to the Administration on key trade issues. The two
agencies will promptly initiate a consultation procedure for soliciting
views from interested parties on procedures for strengthening
channels of communication with these groups in the development
of U.S. trade policy.
welcome ideas from interested parties, including our existing
advisory committees, on how we might improve our procedures for
securing advice from across the broad spectrum of civil society,"
said Secretary Daley. "The initiative announced today reflects
the Administration's continuing commitment to ensuring that the
concerns and priorities of non-governmental groups are fully represented
in the trade policy advisory process," Ambassador Barshefsky stated.
joint initiative responds to requests by environmental and other
non-governmental groups for greater participation in the development
of U.S. trade policy. A suit filed in federal district court in
Seattle has sought the inclusion of environmental representatives
on certain existing trade advisory committees. In November, the
district court directed USTR and Commerce to include qualified
environmental representatives on two Industry Sector Advisory
Committees established under federal law. The two agencies are
carrying out the court's order and at the same time the Justice
Department has appealed the basis for the decision. The appeal
was filed on Friday, January 7, 2000.
has carefully designed a structure for channeling important negotiating
advice to the Administration from the manufacturing and services
sectors of our economy," said Secretary Daley. "The court's ruling,
if permitted to stand, could undermine the framework that Congress
established. At the same time, we need to take additional steps
to ensure that we receive timely and comprehensive advice from
other non-governmental groups as well."
and the Administration have previously established a variety of
official advisory committees from which the Executive Branch solicits
and obtains advice from environmental, labor, and other non-governmental
organizations. For example, Congress has provided for the CEO-level
Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations to include
environmental representatives. The President has established the
CEO-level Trade and Environmental Advisory Committee (TEPAC) to
provide a forum in which advice on both trade and trade-related
environmental policy issues can be provided to the Administration.
Members of both Committees, including representatives of five
different environmental organizations, were included on the official
U.S. delegation to the recent World Trade Organization ministerial
conference held in Seattle. Similarly, a Labor Advisory Committee
provides advice to the Administration on labor-related issues.
advisory committee system is but one of a variety of mechanisms
through which the Administration seeks advice from interested
groups and organizations on the development of U.S. trade policy.
For example, in formulating specific U.S. objectives in major
trade negotiations, USTR routinely solicits written comments from
the public, consults with and briefs interested constituencies,
holds public hearings, and meets with a broad spectrum of groups
at their request. In addition, the President's recent Executive
Order on environmental reviews of trade agreements and its implementing
guidelines will establish an inclusive process for bringing environmental
perspectives into the development of U.S. trade negotiating objectives.
and Barshefsky committed to working closely with a broad range
of civil society interests on trade-related matters. "We encourage
and support strengthening relationships between non-governmental
organizations and government agencies, which will help ensure
that the perspectives of these organizations are fully considered
in the trade policy and negotiating process," they said.