220. Editorial Note

Pursuant to NSDM 29 ( Document 218), during the week of November 3, 1969, the United States presented its preference proposal in the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In a November 13 memorandum reporting on that initiative to Under Secretary of State Richardson, Philip Trezise noted that the U.S. proposal was far more liberal than others had expected. He indicated that the Trade Committee Report, with the U.S. and other proposals, would be delivered to the UNCTAD Secretariat on November 15, and the United States would release its proposal in Washington at the same time. Trezise reported that there would be a high-level meeting at the OECD in early December to attempt to reconcile divergent views. (National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 83 D 305, NSDM 29)

On November 28 Trezise sent a memorandum to Nathaniel Samuels recommending that he discuss the U.S. preference proposal with EC Ambassadors in Washington. A notation on this memorandum suggests that Samuels approved a luncheon meeting on December 18. (Ibid.)

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In his December 12 Weekly Activities Report to Secretary Rogers, Elliot Richardson, Alexis Johnson, and Samuels, Trezise noted that Ambassador Greenwald at the OECD reported some progress toward a common preference scheme at an informal meeting on December 11, and that a supplementary paper reflecting common ground would be prepared for UNCTAD. (Ibid., E Files: Lot 71 D 164, December 12, 1969) He also reported that Samuels would lunch with the EC Ambassadors the coming week. No record of that luncheon meeting was found.

The proposed “U.S. Illustrative Generalized Tariff Preferences for Developing Countries,” revised November 3, which was tabled in the OECD Trade Committee the week of November 3, reads as follows:

“The U.S. is prepared to participate, subject to Congressional approval, in a system of tariff preferences for developing countries, which should be liberal and should confer the maximum range of benefits on the developing countries. We consider that all the major developed countries must participate in the system and do their fair share.

“The U.S. proposal contains the following elements:

  • “1. Preferential duties set at zero.
  • “2. Preferences granted on manufactured and semi-manufactured products in BTN Chapters 25-99, excepting only textiles, shoes, and petroleum and petroleum products. Preferences also granted on a selective list of agriculture and fishery products.
  • “3. A simple scheme, without ceilings on preferential imports, relying on the standard escape clause and adjustment assistance as safeguards for domestic industry.
  • “4. A temporary scheme, i.e. not more than ten years, which would not constitute a binding commitment and would not impede future tariff reductions on a most-favored-nation basis.
  • “5. A common scheme to be adopted by all major developed countries.
  • “6. Developing countries which receive special preferences in developed country markets for products covered by the scheme would be excluded from preferences.
  • “7. Developing countries which grant reverse preferences to developed countries would be excluded from preferences.
  • “8. The U.S. has reached no judgment regarding beneficiary countries. In general, preferences to be granted to all developing countries.
  • “9. With respect to agricultural and fisheries products in Chapters 1 to 24 of the Brussels Nomenclature, preferences would apply to a positive list of items. The final identification of the items to be included in the positive list will be influenced by the nature of the agricultural provisions of the preference scheme to be adopted and can only be determined [Page 568]after further international discussion and domestic consideration. An illustrative positive list of agricultural and fishery products is attached.” (Ibid., S/S Files: Lot 83 D 305, NSDM 29)