WASHINGTON — House and Senate negotiators took a first step today in resolving differences over sweeping trade legislation and were immediately praised by U.S. Trade Representative Clayton K. Yeutter.
It shows the United States "in a leadership role," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) told reporters after the action by a House-Senate trade sub-conference group.
The panel gave tentative approval to a formula that would provide expedited congressional treatment for any accords reached under the year-old Uruguay Round of trade talks. Bentsen called it evidence that Congress seeks to "break down protectionist barriers."
"I think it sends a positive signal to the markets," Bentsen added with an eye to Wall Street fluctuations blamed in part on the nation's trade deficit.
It was the first substantive action in the effort to resolve many differences between House and Senate trade bills this year.
"What was done on negotiating authority was a very significant step forward," Yeutter told reporters.