Trade Act of 1974
|Long title||An Act to promote the development of an open, nondiscriminatory, and fair world economic system, to stimulate fair and free competition between the United States and foreign nations, to foster the economic growth of, and full employment in, the United States, and for other purposes.|
|Nicknames||Trade Reform Act|
|Enacted by||the 93rd United States Congress|
|Effective||January 3, 1975|
|Statutes at Large||88 Stat. 1978-2|
|Titles amended||19 U.S.C.: Customs Duties|
|U.S.C. sections created||19 U.S.C. ch. 12 § 2101 et seq.|
The Trade Act of 1974 (Pub.L. 93–618, 88 Stat. 1978, enacted January 3, 1975, codified at 19 U.S.C. ch. 12) was passed to help industry in the United States become more competitive or phase workers into other industries or occupations.
The Trade Act of 1974 created fast track authority for the President to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. The Act provided the President with tariff and non-tariff trade barrier negotiating authority for the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Gerald Ford was the President at the time. The fast track authority created under the Act was set to expire in 1980, was extended for 8 years in 1979, was renewed again in 1988 until 1993 to allow for the negotiation of the Uruguay Round within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and was again extended to 16 April 1994, a day after the Uruguay Round concluded in the Marrakech Agreement transforming the GATT into the World Trade Organization (WTO). It and was restored in 2002 by the Trade Act of 2002. The Obama Administration sought renewal for fast-track in 2012.
Power to counteract unfair foreign trade practices
It also gave the President broad authority to counteract injurious and unfair foreign trade practices.
- Section 201 of the Act requires the International Trade Commission to investigate petitions filed by domestic industries or workers claiming injury or threat of injury due to expanding imports. Investigations must be completed within 6 months. If such injury is found, restrictive measures may be implemented. Action under Section 201 is allowed under the GATT escape clause, GATT Article XIX.
- Section 301 was designed to eliminate unfair foreign trade practices that adversely affect U.S. trade and investment in both goods and services. Under Section 301, the President must determine whether the alleged practices are unjustifiable, unreasonable, or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce. If the President determines that action is necessary, the law directs that all appropriate and feasible action within the President’s power should be taken to secure the elimination of the practice. A Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) which must identify a list of "Priority Foreign Countries", those countries judged to have inadequate intellectual property laws; these countries may be subject to sanctions. This has been issued every year beginning in 1989 since the enactment of the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (enacted in 1994).
- 19 U.S.C. ch.12—Trade Act of 1974
- Trade Agreements Act of 1979, Pub.L. 96–39, 93 Stat. 144
- Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100–148
- Pub.L. 103–49, enacted July 2, 1993, codified at 19 U.S.C. § 2902(e)
- U.S. International Trade Commission (August 2003). The Impact of Trade Agreements: Effect of the Tokyo Round, U.S.-Israel FTA, U.S.-Canada FTA, NAFTA, and the Uruguay Round on the U.S. Economy (PDF). p. 3.
- U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means (June 2001). Overview and Compilation of U.S. Trade Statutes. p. 225.
- CRS Report for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition - Order Code 97-905
- Knowledge Ecology International. "The US Special 301 Reports, 1989-2012". Accessible at