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Developments in the Law and Institutions of International Economic Relations: American Foreign Trade and Investment Policy for the 1970's: The Williams Commission Report *

  • Stanley D. Metzger

Extract

On May 21, 1970, President Nixon appointed a Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy to study the principal problems faced by the United States in this field, assess present U.S. policy, and produce a set of policy recommendations for the 1970s which would take account of the changes that have taken place on the world economic scene since the end of World War II. Twenty-seven members from business, labor, agriculture, and the universities (a substantial majority from business) were appointed, under the chairmanship of Albert L. Williams, Chairman of the Finance Committee of International Business Machines. The Williams Commission rendered its report in July, 1971: “United States International Economic Policy in an Interdependent World.”

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Copyright

Footnotes

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Edited by Stanley D. Metzger of the Board of Editors.

Footnotes

References

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1 H.R. 18970, 91st Cong., 2d Sess. (1970).

2 New York Times, Sept. 30, 1971, at 46, col. 1.

3 See Jackson, , “The New Economic Policy and United States International Obligations,” 66 A.J.I.L 110 (1972).

4 See International Monetary Fund Release No. 862 (Dec. 19, 1971). The text of the IMF communique’ was reprinted in the New York Times, Dec. 20, 1971, at 56, col. 2.

5 Peterson’s report evolved from a series of presentations first made by him to the President and the Council on International Economic Policy during 1971. He defines the major problem areas upon which the report focuses as follows: trade with the developed countries of the E.E.C., Canada and Japan; trade with the L.D.C.’s; trade with the Communist countries; multinational corporations and investment policy; and developing new competitiveness and productivity in American industries.

6 Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy, Report on the United States International Economic Policy in an Interdependent World at 2 (1971) (hereinafter cited as Williams Report).

7 Ibid, at 4.

8 In the international monetary affairs area, the report joins many others which have been calling for a reform of the IMF system by development of a “more responsive system of exchange rates” to correct international imbalances. Changes in rates must be facilitated “in a more timely fashion.” The events since August, 1971, particularly the Smithsonian Decision, indicate that the leading countries are on their way toward this objective, though it is still early to judge how successful they will be. Since the Commission’s terms of reference did not specify monetary policy, its report on monetary questions eschewed details. Nonetheless, its recommendations are in no way inconsistent with the more detailed prescription set forth by the Tripartite Report issued by the Brookings Institution on Dec. 23, 1971. See note 17 below.

9 Williams Report at 170.

10 Department of Commerce, Policy Aspects of Foreign Investment by U.S. Multinational Corporations at 11 (1972).

11 Peterson, The United States in the Changing World Economy at 45 (chart 56) (1971).

12 Williams Report at 171.

13 Ibid, at 178.

14 Ibid, at 179.

15 Ibid, at 190.

16 See, e.g., Rahl, “Impact of Antitrust Policy on American Business Abroad,” submitted at the National Industrial Conference Board, New York City, Jan. 21, 1972.

17 Brookings Institution, A Tripartite Report on Reshaping the International Economic Order at 19 (1972) (hereinafter cited as Tripartite Report). Twelve economists from North America, the European Community, and Japan had been convened to report their views, following the Smithsonian Agreement, on the manner in which international economic relations should be shaped.

18 Ibid.

19 United States Alkali Export Ass’n. Inc. v. United States, 325 U.S. 196 (1945); United States v. Concentrated Phosphate Export Ass’n., 393 U.S. 199 (1968).

20 FTC, Economic Report, Webb-Pomerene Associations: A 50–Year Review (1967).

21 Williams Report at 120.

22 Ibid, at 247.

23 Ibid, at 248.

24 Ibid, at 249.

25 Ibid, at 251.

26 Ibid. at 252.

27 Tripartite Report at 19.

28 Metzger, , “Private Foreign Investment and International Organizations,” 22 Int. Organizatio 299 (1968).

29 This characterization appears to reflect substantial dissatisfaction with the emphasis given to bilateral balances of trade between the United States and Japan, the United States and Canada, etc. in the Peterson report.

30 Tripartite Report at 13.

31 Williams Report at 60.

32 Ibid, at 85.

33 Tripartite Report at 14–15.

34 Trade Expansion Act of 1962, 76 Stat. 872, 19 U.S.C. §§1801 et seq. (1970).

35 Future of United States Trade Policy, Report to the President Submitted by the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (1969).

36 Note 1 above.

37 It was intended that a 5% (or 50-worker) increase in unemployment would be considered the requisite injury to workers. H.R. Rep. No. 1435, 91st Cong., 2d Sess. 30 (1970).

38 See Metzger, , “The Escape Clause and Adjustment Assistance: Proposals and Assessments,” 2 Law and Policy in Int. Busines 352, 365 (1970). The importance of this requirement was underscored by a 1968 study of the 20 escape-clause cases of the 1962–1968 period in which the Commission failed to make an affirmative finding. At least 15 of these negative findings had been made because the requisite causation between the tariff concession and the increase in imports could not be established. Ibid. at 367.

39 Williams Report at 62.

40 Ibid, at 64.

41 Ibid.

42 Ibid, at 88–89.

43 Ibid. at 90.

44 H.R. Rep. No. 1435, note 37 above, at 45.

45 Ibid, at 50.

46 Ibid, at 45.

47 See, e.g., Ferrite Cores from Japan, T.C. Pub. No. 360 (Jan. 1971); Ceramic Wall Tile from the United Kingdom, T.C. Pub. No. 381 (April, 1971); Clear Plate, Float and Sheet Glass from Japan, T.C. Pub. No. 382 (April, 1971).

48 Tariff Act of 1890, Ch. 1244 §237, 26 Stat. 534.

49 GATT, Art. XVI.

50 GATT, Art. VI (6).

51 Protocol of Provisional Application of the GATT, par. 1(b).

52 In 1951 the Treasury Dept. proposed an amendment to the countervailing duty statute which would have incorporated such a provision. Although favorably reported on by the House Ways and Means Committee, it was never enacted. H.R. Rep. No. 1089, 82nd Cong., 1st Sess. (1951).

53 Undoubtedly the drafters of this provision, fully aware of the almost automatic Tariff Commission injury findings, did not intend a strict application of the new procedures.

* Edited by Stanley D. Metzger of the Board of Editors.

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