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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

President Clinton Signs Executive Order Directing Environmental Review as Part of Trade Agreements. Call for Public Comments Issued.

President Clinton has signed a new Executive Order directing the U.S. Trade Representative to work with the Council on Environmental Quality to incorporate environmental considerations, such as sustainable development, into the USTR's negotiating objectives for trade agreements. The President's action was announced recently in the Federal Register. See 65 Fed. Reg. 8756.

Public comments on the general planning set forth in this notice are due April 7, 2000. In addition, public hearings and a request for public comments on the draft guidelines are expected in the near future.

Under the Executive Order (E. O. 13141), written environmental reviews may be required as part of: (1) comprehensive multilateral trade rounds; (2) bilateral or plurilateral free trade agreements, and (3) major new trade liberalization agreements in natural resource sectors. The USTR's interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee will determine whether the reviews are needed. The reviews will be published in the Federal Register for early public comment, and the final review will also be publicly available.

The procedures at issue under the Executive Order will have a significant effect on U.S. businesses and the public, both in this country and abroad. As NAFTA and the recent Seattle WTO conference demonstrated, environmental concerns can also have a tremendous political impact and may tip the balance in passage of trade agreements and trade legislation. Because this process is just being formed, public participation will play a critical role in how the reviews are implemented. Interested parties are therefore encouraged to follow implementation of E.O. 13141 very closely.

Please click below to submit comments to the CRE on the Executive Order.
Executive Order: CRE Interactive Public Docket

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