U.S. Trade Representative William E. Brock is expected to tell a House committee today that the administration wants "global reciprocity" in the telecommunications field, according to a high-ranking government official.
The official also outlined a new administration strategy of giving the Japanese specific suggestions, with their dollar benefits for American business, for opening trade during high-level meetings next week in Tokyo to convince the Japanese to open their markets to American products.
In addition, the administration will spring on Japan a new idea of having American retailers operate as trading companies there to help American firms export to, and distribute more goods in, Japan, whose restrictive distribution channels have been a barrier to American companies, the official said.
So far, administration officials have said they favor reciprocity in general but haven't endorsed any of the bills floating around Capitol Hill. Brock is expected to outline the administration's position later this month before the Senate finance subcommittee on trade.
The official said that many reciprocity bills are being considered and have been criticized, but that so far there have been few substantive interagency complaints against legislation offered by Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) that would establish reciprocal market access as a principle of U.S. trade policy and require the administration to identify barriers to U.S. exports and submit to Congress information on other countries' trade barriers and their impact on American business.
Under the bill, the president also would have to propose actions to redress imbalances in trade access and to toughen existing law, allowing the president to act against other countries' unfair trading practices.
The administration has said that such legislation would not single out Japan. It probably will pass because it cannot be attacked as being protectionist, the official said.
The Danforth bill also passes the administration's global-reciprocity test, the official said. The plan would include equal access in investment and services and not just goods, which already are covered under trade laws, the official said.
The administration hopes to take this global reciprocity strategy to Tokyo later this week when Deputy U.S. Trade Representative David R. Macdonald opens discussions with his Japanese counterparts.