YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Gore Steps Up Campaign for Trade Pact : Treaty: Vice president says accord would spawn tax cuts, reduce prices, create jobs. It is believed to be short by three to five votes in the Senate.

November 20, 1994| From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — Vice President Al Gore renewed the stateside sales pitch for passage of a new world trade agreement Saturday, calling it a massive tax cut that will bring down prices for consumers and create lucrative jobs.

The Clinton Administration says it is three to five votes short in the Senate and in good shape in the House as it prepares to take the 123-country trade agreement to Congress for a vote at the end of the month.

The agreement to lower duties and other trade barriers worldwide will be the first test of how the rising Republicans and diminishing Democrats can get along after the election.

Gore, stepping in for the traveling President Clinton in his weekly radio address, said congressional critics who want to put off voting on the accord until the Republicans take control of Congress in January are actually out to kill it.

Clinton, returning to Washington today, talked up the accord negotiated under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade when he was at a trade summit in Indonesia last week. He said its passage will be his priority.

Gore went on the offensive from Washington, using some of the same arguments employed in his campaign for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"GATT contains the biggest tax cut in history--a record $744-billion reduction in tariffs, which will lower prices for consumers and spark economic growth around the globe, and, most importantly, here at home," he said.

Like NAFTA, ratified in November, 1993, with heavy Republican support, the world treaty cuts across party lines.

Gore said both Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), the incoming House Speaker, and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), the outgoing House majority leader and a frequent critic of liberalized trade, "agree that we need GATT this year."

Former President George Bush urged rapid Senate approval of GATT, saying at a forum Saturday in San Diego that it will increase employment in the United States.

"I think approval is absolutely essential if the U.S. is going to continue to lead, and if we want to continue to increase the job base in this country," he said.

But Senate prospects will depend in part on whether the Administration can satisfy incoming Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.).

Dole said last week he'd rather "fix it and do it this year" if his concerns can be dealt with. He's seeking some method of escape if the agreement turns out to be bad for American interests or impinges on U.S. sovereignty.

GATT critics in both parties say cheaper imports would put Americans out of work. They also say multinational regulation of the agreement by the proposed World Trade Organization would put food safety rules and other U.S. regulations at risk because they might be judged an unfair trade barrier.

Los Angeles Times Articles