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GATT Provisions

August 16, 1994

* Your July 31 editorial ("Greasing the Skids for GATT") expresses discomfort at the prospect of anything other than GATT's "slam dunk" approval by Congress. Your article, however, doesn't mention some greatly disturbing provisions in the treaty.

Certain hard-won environmental and other protective U.S. laws are in danger of being seriously undermined by GATT. For example, according to a report released by Public Citizen in April, U.S. federal, state and local food safety laws can be challenged by other countries as "illegal trade barriers" before secret tribunals of trade experts where public participation is barred. If any U.S. law is deemed "illegal" under GATT, the law would have to be changed or the U.S. would be stuck paying perpetual trade sanctions.

The commission designated by GATT to determine food standards for global trade (a body heavily influenced by the chemical and food industries) permits the use of 40 pesticides banned in the U.S. Eight of these pesticides are rated highly hazardous by the World Health Organization and six as carcinogens by the EPA. These facts alone mandate that GATT be voted down since, as you state, Congress cannot amend the treaty.

CHERYL S. YOST

Los Angeles

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