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Public Papers - 1991 - August

Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting a Proclamation on Soviet-United States Trade Relations


Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

In accordance with section 407 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Public Law 93 - 618, January 3, 1975; 88 Stat. 1978), as amended (the ``Trade Act''), I am transmitting a copy of a proclamation that extends nondiscriminatory treatment to the products of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As an annex to the proclamation, I also enclose the text of the ``Agreement on Trade Relations Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,'' which I signed on June 1, 1990, including related annexes and exchanges of letters.

Implementation of this Agreement will strengthen political relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and produce economic benefits for both countries. It will also give further impetus to the progress we have made in our overall diplomatic relations over the last several years, and help to reinforce political and economic reform in the Soviet Union.

I believe that the Agreement is consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the Trade Act. It provides for mutual extension of nondiscriminatory tariff treatment, while seeking to ensure overall reciprocity of economic benefits. It includes safeguard arrangements designed to ensure that imports from the Soviet Union will not disrupt the U.S. market.

The Agreement also confirms and expands for American businesses certain basic rights in conducting commercial transactions both within the Soviet Union and with Soviet nationals and business entities. Other provisions include those dealing with settlement of commercial disputes, financial transactions, and government commercial offices. Through this Agreement, the Soviet Union also undertakes obligations to modernize and upgrade very substantially its protection of all forms of intellectual property rights. Once fully implemented, the Soviet intellectual property regime will be on a par with that of our principal trading partners.

I note that the proclamation also extends nondiscriminatory treatment to the products of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This in no way affects the long-standing U.S. policy of not recognizing the forcible incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union and of continuing to support their legitimate aspirations.

On December 29, 1990, I waived application of subsections (a) and (b) of section 402 of the Trade Act with respect to the Soviet Union. On June 3, 1991, I recommended an extension of the waiver authority in section 402. I included with this recommendation my determination that the continuation of the waiver in effect for the Soviet Union would substantially promote the objectives of section 402.

I urge that the Congress act as soon as possible to approve the ``Agreement on Trade Relations Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics'' and the proclamation extending nondiscriminatory treatment to the products of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by enactment of a joint resolution, referred to in section 151 of the Trade Act.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Dan Quayle, President of the Senate.

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