III. The Trade Agreements Extension Act of June 16, 1951

Editorial Note

During the same months of 1951 that the United States Delegation at Torquay was implementing the trade agreements program within the context of GATT, in Washington the State Department was urging Congress to extend the Trade Agreements Act of 1949 (63 Stat. 697), which on June 12 terminated the President’s authority to enter into trade agreements. For text of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951 as finally approved on June 16 (65 Stat. 72), see infra.

The principal documentation of the legislative history of the act is incorporated into the following:

(1)
House Report No. 14, 82d Cong., 1st sess.;
(2)
Senate Committee on Finance, 82d Cong., 1st sess., Hearings …on H.R. 1612.… (pt.2);
(3)
Senate Report No. 299, 82d Cong., 1st sess.;
(4)
House Report No. 537, 82d Cong., 1st sess., Conference Report.

Executive Branch interest in the legislation was reflected in statements to the Congressional committees on the part of the highest Administration officials of the departments and agencies concerned. Part II of the Senate Hearings consisted primarily (1314 out of 1432 pages) of the testimony of Winthrop G. Brown, Director of the Office of International Trade Policy, Department of State, and accompanying additional information submitted for the record by Mr. Brown. As such it constitutes a useful reference source.

For statements by Secretary of State Acheson to the House Ways and Means Committee on January 22, 1951, and the Senate Finance Committee on February 22, 1951, see Department of State Bulletin, February 5, 1951, page 209, and March 12, 1951, page 435. The Acheson statements reflected the continuing Administration concern, and particularly that of the Department of State, with the contradictory aspects of the trade agreements legislation as it was emerging in the two houses: on the one hand, the broad grant of the necessary legislative authority by the Congress to the Executive to reduce and bind tariffs (or to increase them); on the other hand, having given the Executive such authority, the restrictions inserted into the new legislation by the Congress to limit in various ways the Executive’s discretion to exercise such authority.

For documentation regarding the Department of State’s position on section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, as amended, as it related to the passage of this trade agreement legislation, see pages 1424 ff.

[Page 1374]

Public Law 50 (Trade Agreements Extension Act of June 16, 1951)1

[Page 1375]
An Act
June 16, 1951 [H.R. 1612] To extend the authority of the President to enter into trade agreements under section 350 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951”.
Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951.
48 Stat. 943.
19 U.S.C § 1351.
Sec 2. The period during which the President is authorized to enter into foreign-trade agreements under section 350 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended and extended is hereby extended for a further period of two years from June 12, 1951.
Furnishing of list by President. Sec. 3. (a) Before entering into negotiations concerning any proposed foreign trade agreement under section 350 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, the President shall furnish the United States Tariff Commission (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the “Commission”) with a list of all articles imported into the United States to be considered for possible modification of duties and other import restrictions, imposition of additional import restrictions, or continuance after the receipt of such list by the Commission. No of such list the Commission shall make an investigation and report to the President the findings of the Commission with respect to each such article as to (1) the limit to which such modification, imposition, or continuance may be extended in order to carry out the purpose of such section 350 without causing or threatening serious injury to the domestic industry producing like or directly competitive articles; and (2) if increases in duties or additional import restrictions are required to avoid serious injury to the domestic industry producing like or directly competitive articles the minimum increases in duties or additional import restrictions required. Such report shall be made by the Commission to the President not later than 120 days after the receipt of such list by the Commission. No such foreign trade agreement shall be entered into until the Commission has made its report to the President or until the expiration of the 120-day period.
Report to President.
Restriction.
Hearings. (b) In the course of any investigation pursuant to this section the Commission shall hold hearings and give reasonable public notice thereof, and shall afford reasonable opportunity for parties interested to be present, to produce evidence, and to be heard at such hearings.
48 Stat 945. 19 U.S.C. § 1354. (c) Section 4 of the Act entitled “An Act to amend the Tariff Act of 1930”, approved June 12, 1934, as amended (19 U.S.C, sec. 1354), is hereby amended by striking out the matter following the semicolon and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “and before concluding such agreement the President shall request the Tariff Commission to make the investigation and report provided for by section 3 of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951, and shall seek information and advice with respect to such agreement from the Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense, and from such other sources as he may deem appropriate.”
Information and advice.
Copy of agreement to Congress. Sec. 4. (a) Within thirty days after any trade agreement under section 350 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, has been entered into which, when effective, will (1) require or make appropriate any modification of duties or other import restrictions, the imposition of additional import restrictions, or the continuance of existing customs or excise treatment, which modification, imposition, or continuance will exceed the limit to which such modification, imposition, or continuance may be extended without causing or threatening serious injury to the domestic industry producing like or directly competitive articles as found and reported by the Tariff Commission under section 3, or (2) fail to require or make appropriate the minimum increase in duty or additional import restrictions required to avoid such injury, the President shall transmit to Congress a copy of such agreement together with a message accurately identifying the article with respect to which such limits or minimum requirements are not complied with, and stating his reasons for the action taken with respect to such article. If either the Senate or the House of Representatives, or both, are not in session at the time of such transmission, such agreement and message shall be filed with the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives, or both, as the case may be.
48 Stat. 943. 19 U.S.C. § 1351.
[Page 1376]Report to Congressional Committees. (b) Promptly after the President has transmitted such foreign trade agreement to Congress the Commission shall deposit with the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Finance of the Senate, a copy of the portions of its report to the President dealing with the articles with respect to which such limits or minimum requirements are not complied with.
Withdrawal of concessions from Communist areas. Sec. 5. As soon as practicable, the President shall take such action as is necessary to suspend, withdraw or prevent the application of any reduction in any rate of duty, or binding of any existing customs or excise treatment, or other concession contained in any trade agreement entered into under authority of section 850 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended and extended, to imports from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and to imports from any nation or area dominated or controlled by the foreign government or foreign organization controlling the world Communist movement.
4S Stat. 943.
19 U.S.C. § 1351.
Escape clause: Restriction on continuance of concessions. Sec. 6. (a) No reduction in any rate of duty, or binding of any existing customs or excise treatment, or other concession hereafter proclaimed under section 350 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, shall be permitted to continue in effect when the product on which the concession has been granted is, as a result, in whole or in part, of the duty or other customs treatment reflecting such concession, being imported into the United States in such increased quantities, either actual or relative, as to cause or threaten serious injury to the domestic industry producing like or directly competitive products.
(b) The President, as soon as practicable, shall take such action as may be necessary to bring trade agreements heretofore entered into under section 350 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, into conformity with the policy established in subsection (a) of this section.
Report to Congress. On or before January 10, 1952, and every six months thereafter, the President shall report to the Congress on the action taken by him under this subsection.
Investigation by Commission. Sec. 7. (a) Upon the request of the President, upon resolution of either House of Congress, upon resolution of either the Committee on Finance of the Senate [Page 1377]or the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, upon its own motion, or upon application of any interested party, the United States Tariff Commission shall promptly make an investigation and make a report thereon not later than one year after the application is made to determine whether any product upon which a concession has been granted under a trade agreement is, as a result, in whole or in part, of the duty or other customs treatment reflecting such concession, being imported into the United States in such increased quantities, either actual or relative, as to cause or threaten serious injury to the domestic industry producing like or directly competitive products.
Tariff Commission hearings. In the course of any such investigation, whenever it finds evidence of serious injury or threat of serious injury or whenever so directed by resolution of either the Committee on Finance of the Senate or the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the Tariff Commission shall hold hearings giving reasonable public notice thereof and shall afford reasonable opportunity for interested parties to be present, to produce evidence, and to be heard at such hearings.
Recommendation to President. Should the Tariff Commission find, as the result of its investigation and hearings, that a product on which a concession has been granted is, as a result, in whole or in part, of the duty or other customs treatment reflecting such concession, being imported in such increased quantities, either actual or relative, as to cause or threaten serious injury to the domestic industry producing like or directly competitive products, it shall recommend to the President the withdrawal or modification of the concession, its suspension in whole or in part, or the establishment of import quotas, to the extent and for the time necessary to prevent or remedy such injury. Within sixty days, or sooner if the President has taken action under subsection (c) of this section, the Tariff Commission shall transmit to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives an exact copy of its report and recommendations to the President.
Copy of report, etc., to Congress.
[Page 1378]Factors for consideration. (b) In arriving at a determination in the foregoing procedure the Tariff Commission, without excluding other factors, shall take into consideration a downward trend of production, employment, prices, profits, or wages in the domestic industry concerned, or a decline in sales, an increase in imports, either actual or relative to domestic production, a higher or growing inventory, or a decline in the proportion of the domestic market supplied by domestic producers.
Modifications by President. (c) Upon receipt of the Tariff Commission’s report of its investigation and hearings, the President may make such adjustments in the rates of duty, impose such quotas, or make such other modifications as are found and reported by the Commission to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury to the respective domestic industry. If the President does not take such action within sixty days he shall immediately submit a report to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House and to the Committee Finance of the Senate stating why he has not made such adjustments or modifications, or imposed such Quotas.
Report.
Publication of Commission’s report. (d) When in the judgment of the Tariff Commission no sufficient reason exists for a recommendation to the President that a concession should be withdrawn or modified or a quota established, it shall make and publish a report stating its findings and conclusions.
Perishable agricultural commodities.
Emergency action.
Sec 8. (a) In any case where the Secretary of Agriculture determines and reports to the President and to the Tariff Commission with regard to any agricultural commodity that due to the perishability of the commodity a condition exists requiring emergency treatment, the Tariff Commission shall make an immediate investigation under the provisions of section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, as amended, or under the provisions of section 7 of this Act to determine the facts and make recommendations to the President for such relief under those provisions as may be appropriate. The President may take immediate action however, without awaiting the recommendations of the Tariff Commission if in his judgment the emergency requires such action. In any case the report and findings of the Tariff Commission and the decision of the President shall be made at the earliest possible date and in any event not more than 25 calendar days after the submission of the case to the Tariff Commission.
49 Stat. 773. 7 U.S.C § 624. Ante, p. 74.
[Page 1379]62 Stat. 1250.
7 U.S.C. § 624(f).
(b) Subsection (f) of section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:
“(f) No trade agreement or other international agreement heretofore or hereafter entered into by the United States shall be applied in a manner inconsistent with the requirements of this section.”
48 Stat. 944.
19 U.S.C. §§ 1001, 1201.
Sec 9. (a) The second sentence of section 2(a) of the Act entitled “An Act to amend the Tariff Act of 1930”, approved June 12, 1934, as amended, is amended by striking out the word “sections” and inserting in lieu thereof the word “section” and by striking out “and 516(b)”.
52 Stat 1086.
19 U.S.C. § 1516 note.
gatt.
(b) Subsection (c) of section 17 of the Customs Administrative Act of 1938, as amended, is hereby repealed.
61 Stat, Pts. 5 and 6. Sec 10. The enactment of this Act shall not be construed to determine or indicate the approval or disapproval by the Congress of the Executive Agreement known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Importation of certain furs. Restriction. Sec 11. The President shall, as soon as practicable, take such measures as may be necessary to prevent the importation of ermine, fox, kolinsky, marten, mink, muskrat, and weasel furs and skins, dressed or undressed, which are the product of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or of Communist China.
Approved June 16, 1951.
  1. Text from 65 Stat. 72.