Washington International Law Journal


Josh Schein


In 1988, President Reagan signed the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (OTCA), a broad set of trade laws overlying a sizable preexisting legal framework which included Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.1 The OTCA changed some U.S. trade law provisions while leaving other areas undisturbed. Foreign trading partners reacted sharply to the passage and implementation of the OTCA, arguing that it conflicted with American obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Although no trading partner has formally challenged the OTCA under GATT thus far, the potential for conflict exists. This Comment will briefly summarize GATT and Section 301 before turning to the principal question of whether the unilateral retaliatory provisions the OTCA adds to Section 301 conflict with American obligations under the GATT accord. The analysis will cover potential GATT challenges to Section 301, U.S. legal options, and strategic ramifications.

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