President Carter is expected to send trade reorganization legislation to Congress this week despite differences with key members of the Senate.
The draft legislation, originally labeled as "a turkey" by one senator and "flawed" by former special trade representative Robert S. Strauss, has been circulating on Capitol Hill.
Although many House members reportedly don't oppose the revamped legislation that has been under negotiation the past few weeks, some senators and House Ways and Means members are concerned about who will have authority over countervailing duties and antidumping responsibilities, sources said.
The administration proposal announced last July would consolidate U.S. trade policy negotiations and coordination with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which will replace the Office of the Special Trade Representative.
It also would consolidate day-to-day operation of government nonagricultural trade activities in the new Department of Trade and Commerce, formerly the Commerce Department. The new renamed department also would have authority over antidumping, countervailing duties and national security trade investigations, functions now under the Treasury Department.
Treasury was criticized last spring for its handling of countervailing and antidumping issues. Sources said that some congressmen still feel those functions should remain in Treasury because new laws affecting that area will go into effect in January.
Others said that those functions should go to the newly strengthened office of the U.S. Trade Representative, although union leaders reportedly oppose this, sources said.
Although some senators are "considerably unhappy" with the administration proposal, sources said that the White House plans to send up its legislation anyway because former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, slated for the trade representative position, is expected to assume his post on Oct. 1.
To appease some senators who felt that the role of the U.S. trade representative wasn't strong enough, the administration reportedly will give the representative a staff larger than the 59 persons originally proposed, a position on the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corp. boards, and a role in export policy.