August 1, 2002 08:00 PM
Washington, DC, August 1, 2002 - The Distilled Spirits Council today applauded the U.S. Senate for passing, 64-34, the Trade Act of 2002 (HR 3009), a bill strongly supported by the spirits industry that will lead to more open markets and increased global commerce. The Senate action follows passage Saturday by the House of Representatives, and President Bush, who has made Trade Promotion Authority a center piece of his economic agenda, is expected to sign the bill shortly. "This bill will give U.S. trade negotiators the authority they need to take a leadership role in global trade negotiations and to strike the best possible deal for spirits producers," said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy. "Reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority comes at a critical time, as the U.S. prepares to wrap up in a number of critical international trade negotiations." Cressy cited the current round of WTO negotiations, bilateral negotiations with Chile and Singapore, and the critical market access negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas. "Promoting free trade and open markets is a central tenet of our public policy agenda," he added. "We have sought this legislation for a number of years and its passage is a major step forward." The Trade Act of 2002 includes a reauthorization, after an eight-year lapse, of trade promotion authority (formerly called "fast track" authority). The bill provides that expedited legislative procedures (an up-or-down vote within a time certain, no amendments) will be available for trade agreements entered into before June 1, 2005, with a possible two-year extension. It includes more extensive provisions for Congressional oversight than in past "fast track" procedures, including the establishment of a Congressional Oversight Group to advise the executive branch on trade negotiations. The Act also includes a significant expansion of the current Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides income support and retraining allowances for workers whose jobs have been displaced by import competition or, in some cases, a shift in production overseas. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the national trade association representing the producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in America and throughout the world. CONTACT: Frank Coleman or Lisa Hawkins Telephone: (202) 682-8840 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:


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