Introduction Symposium: The Political Economy of International Trade Law and Policy

Abbott, Kenneth W. | January 1, 1987

As this Introduction is written, the law of international trade stands at a major crossroads. In Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate are attempting to consolidate two massive omnibus trade bills.’ These bills authorize the President to enter into a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, amend the import relief laws, prescribe measures to deal with “unfair” foreign trade practices, and in general affect virtually every area of United States law concerned with international trade. Provisions like the Gephardt Amendment,2 designed to exert pressure on countries which have large trade surpluses and engage in trade practices that the United States considers unreasonable, have been criticized as “mean-spirited”3 and protectionist, although the reality is considerably more complex.