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The CHAIRMAN. All right. Senator Millikin?
Senator MILLIKIN. Mr. Gregg, just to double-rivet the matter that has already been discussed between the chairman and yourself:
Directing your attention to the practice before the act of 1948, when those individual tariff concessions came before the Trade Agreements Committee, did you, as delegate, ever have any instruction from the Tariff Commission as to what position you should take to represent the Commission ?
Mr. GREGG. No, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. You never did. So far as you know, did Chairman Ryder, when he was acting as delegate in chief, ever have such an instruction from the Commission? Mr. GREGG. Not so far as I know.
Senator MILLIKIN. That has never happened since you have been a member of the Commission!
Mr. GREGG. Not so far as I know.
Senator MILLIKIN. So far as you can recall, were the members of the Tariff Commission ever polled, or did the members of the Tariff Commission, as such, ever vote on any individual concession proposed by the Trade Agreements Committee, or on any items which were before the Trade Agreements Committee for discussion?
Mr. GREGG. Not so far as I know, no, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. Then, as I think you have developed, the delegate, or the alternate, representing the Tariff Commission, was not in fact representing the Tariff Commission, but was simply selected, from among the members of the Tariff Commission, and acted in his personal capacity, rather than as a representative of the Tariff Commission. Mr. GREGG. That is my understanding; yes, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. With reference to the peril points, it is my understanding that the Commission, as such, has completed its work on those peril points. Is that correct, sir?
Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir. It has. The work is not finally completed, but we have covered all of the items and are now getting together the final results.
Senator MILLIKIN. The policy matters, so far as the Commission is concerned, have been completed. Is that correct?
Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. So that all that remains is the mechanical work of getting the recommendations in form to submit to the President. Is that correct? Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir. Roughly, that is correct.
Senator MilLIKIN. What is the date by which the peril points must be delivered to the President? Mr. GREGG. March 5. Senator MILLIKIN. March 5 ? Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. Do you know of any reason why those peril points cannot be delivered by the Tariff Commission to the President by March 5 ?
Mr. GREGG. No, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. I do not wish to anticipate in any way the nature of your report. I would like to ask this, and I won't press it if you think it is out of bounds:
Have the members of the Tariff Commission in most instances been able to reconcile their minds, under the evidence before them, as to a peril point?
Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir; I think 90 percent.
Senator MILLIKIN. Ninety percent of your recommendations will be unanimous ?
Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. I understand that. The members of the Commission are equally divided politically?
Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir.
Senator MilLIKIN. When we had this matter before us a year ago, there was at that time some talk, and it was rather vague and uncertain, that we might have negotiations with one or two or three countries. You have been working on negotiations which might be made with how many countries? Mr. GREGg. Thirteen countries, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. Have you found your facilities over there, both so far as staff is concerned and so far as the time and convenience of the members of the Commission are concerned, to assume that job and do a good job, in your own view?
Mr. GREGG. I think we have, sir. It has crowded us.
Senator MILLIKIN. It has crowded you, but you have been able to do it?
Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. In other words, you will have the peril points there on time.
Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir. I believe so.
Senator MILLIKIN. And you are in unanimous agreement on roughly 90 percent or more of the items? Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. Have you found any difficulties that seemed to be insuperable difficulties in reaching that point beneath which a concession should not be made ?
Mr. GREGG. No, sir.
Senator MILLIKIN. Just the usual problems of judgment related to facts; is that correct? Mr. GREGG. Yes, sir. Senator MILLIKIN. That is all, Mr. Gregg, as far as I am concerned. The CHAIRMAN. Senator Connally, do you have any questions! Senator CONNALLY. I believe not. The CHAIRMAN. Senator Brewster? Senator BREWSTER. No questions. The CHAIRMAN. Senator Williams? Senator WILLIAMS. I have no questions. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. Senator CONNALLY. Wait just 1 minute.
When you say 90 percent, do you mean 90 percent unanimous or 90 percent by a majority of four of five?
Mr. GREGG. Ninety percent unanimous, sir. We had about 500 commodities listed, and we were, I say, roughly 90 percent unanimous.
Senator CONNALLY. Thank you very much, Mr. Gregg.
For the record, you are the Chairman of the Tariff Commission? STATEMENT OF OSCAR B. RYDER, CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES
TARIFF COMMISSION, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mr. RYDER. That is right.
I have a statement which I would like to read before the questioning begins, and then I will be glad to answer any questions.
Some of this will be a little in the way of repetition of some of the things Mr. Gregg has stated, but that cannot be helped, I guess.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mr. RYDER. In June of last year I appeared at the request of the then Chairman Millikin before this committee and made a statement comparing the procedure up to that time in making trade agreements, and the procedure required under the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1948 then pending.
I should like to stress at the outset that I appear now, as I did then, entirely in my personal capacity. I can only give my personal views, and they cannot necessarily be taken as representing those of the Commission.
In fact, with respect to the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1948 and the present bill which would repeal that act, there is, as you already know, a wide divergence between the views of the different members of the Tariff Commission.
The Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1948, in section 3, requires the Tariff Commission to find for each imported article listed for trade-agreement negotiations the lowest point at which the import duty may be fixed without causing or threatening serious injury to the domestic industry producing a like or similar article; and the point found may be higher or lower than the basic duty in effect on January 1, 1945, which basic duty may be decreased or increased in trade agreements by as much as 50 percent.
The act of 1948 also provided that representatives of the Commission could not continue to have membership on the Trade Agreements Committee or on the country committees or other subcommittees of the Trade Agreements Committee. However, section 4 of the act required the Commission to furnish facts, statistics, and other information at its command, to officers and employees of the United States preparing for or participating in the negotiation of any foreign trade agreement.
This brings me to a discussion of the work of the Commission, pursuant to the provisions of that act.
Not until the meeting of the contracting pgarties to the general agreement on tariffs and trade at Geneva in August-September 1948 was there much work in connection with the trade-agreements program under the provisions of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1948.
At that meeting the United States tentatively agreed to negotiate in April with 11 countries, and the number was later increased to 13.
The first step in preparing for such negotiations was to make up lists of articles with respect to which the United States would consider making duty concessions to each of the 13 countries. The Commission assisted, as it has always done in the past with this job by supplying statistics on each article imported from any of the 13 countries in any substantial volume.
However, Commission experts did not participate as fully as they had before the passage of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1948, in making decisions as to the articles to be listed. By the new law the Commission was prevented from having, as in the past, membership on the country committees and the Trade Agreements Committee, and the observers which the Commission designated to attend meetings of these committees were restricted in the degree to which they could enter into the discussions regarding the articles to be listed. They will be similarly restricted and with much greater effect on the tradeagreements program, when consideration of the concessions to be offered on the articles listed begins.
It is my view that the provision of the present law which prohibits the Commission and its experts from participating in any manner in the preparations for, or negotiation of trade agreements, except as to furnishing facts, is not in the public interest. This provision has not been interpreted to exclude the presence of observers who may, in a highly guarded manner, answer isolated questions of fact. But it hangs like the sword of Damocles over the heads of any who might over-step these limits by entering into a full discussion and interpretation of the facts in terms of the possible effects of a proposed cut in the tariff rate. This hampers the effectiveness of Commission participation, even as a fact-furnishing agency.
In addition, by proscribing Tariff Commission representation on the Trade Agreements Committee, the present act deprives the committee of the knowledge and experience regarding tariff matters which such representation affords.
Senator MILLIKIN. Mr. Chairman, would you mind reading that last sentence again, please? Mr. RYDER. I will, gladly, sir.
This hampers the effectiveness of Commission participation, even as a fact-furnishing agency.
In addition, by proscribing Tariff Commission representation on the Trade Agreements Committee, the present act deprives the committee of the knowledge and experience regarding tariff matters which such representation affords. A large part of the information which the Commission has always furnished in connection with tariff revisions, whether by Congress or in trade agreements, has been the information supplied by the experts of the Tariff Commission acting freely in their capacity as experts. In many ways the information so supplied has been of greater practical importance than the written information supplied by the Commission, principally in the digests which are prepared on all articles covered by trade-agreement negotiations with any country.
The written information supplied in connection with the pending negotiations has, however, been more complete and more thorough than ever before, largely because of the work done in response to the request of the Committee on Ways and Means in revising and bringing up to
date the tariff-information summaries on all dutiable articles covered by the Tariff Act of 1930.
On November 5, 1948, the President transmitted to the Tariff Commission, in accordance with section 3 of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1948, lists for each country, to be included in the April negotiations, of the articles with respect to which the United States would consider duty concessions. These lists covered all or part of about two hundred and thirty-some paragraphs of the Tariff Act of 1930, and required findings on something like 400 different commodity classifications. On all these items the so-called peril-point findings of the Commission must, under the law, be made in 120 days after its receipt of the lists—in this instance by March 5.
Senator MILLIKIN. How many items, Mr. Chairman, please?
As I said, on all these items, the so-called peril-point findings of the Commission must, under the law, be made in 120 days after its receipt of the lists—in this instance by March 5, 1949. Now, I should explain that what I have said refers only to the initial list. A supplementary list was issued, on which hearings have been held, but on which no findings have been made. On this last I think April 17 is the final date; April 17 or 18.
However, before the Commission could begin considering its findings on the initial list, it had to hold a public hearing, and to give notice of the public hearing. This hearing began December 8, and was concluded December 15, 1948. This left 80 days, deducting Sundays and holidays, about 54 working days, to make its peril point findings on something like 400 articles. Thus, the Commission has had to make findings on about seven or eight tariff classifications per working day.
I think I can speak for the entire Commission, as an organization, and for each member of the Commission, when I say that we have done and are doing our best to comply fully with the law, as we do in the case of all laws imposing duties upon the Tariff Commission. I think I can speak for the Commission also when I say that we will complete our findings by March 5, and will make our report to the President at least by that date. To accomplish this, the Commission has been meeting almost continuously, and I might add to the neglect of other work, every weekday since the middle of December, and the Commissioners have spent their evenings and week ends largely in studying the materials supplied by the Commission's staff and the record of the hearings on the articles on which peril-point findings have to be made.
On the great bulk of the article, probably 90 percent of them, as Commissioner Gregg indicated, the Commission's findings have been unanimous.
Most of the items, however, on which agreement was reached, consisted of (a) imported dutiable articles of kinds not produced in the United States; or (6) dutiable articles of kinds produced in the United States and imported in negligible or almost negligible quantities; or (c) dutiable articles exported in much greater quantity than they are imported; or (d) articles which are imported in substantial volume but which are of different grade or quality from the domestic product and thus are only indirectly competitive; or (e) articles with respect