Here is a summary of key provisions of the trade bill passed yesterday by the House:
The president would be required:
*To take actions against foreign trade violations, removing his current discretionary authority; the bill would set specific time limits for investigations and retaliatory actions.
*To retaliate in an amount equivalent in value to offset completely the effects of the foreign trade action.
*To act against foreign governments, such as Japan, that practice "export targeting" by subsidizing or favoring certain export industries.
*To retaliate against countries that engage in "unreasonable" trade practices, including the denial of "internationally recognized" workers rights.
The bill also would:
*Require mandatory negotiation with any major trading partner that has "excessive trade surpluses" with the United States. The provision, aimed at West Germany, Japan and Taiwan, says those nations must reduce their trade surpluses by 10 percent a year or face the consequences of quotas or tariffs.
*In order to help domestic industries hurt by foreign competition, create new emergency procedures for import relief and transfer the decision-making authority from the president to the U.S. Trade Representative. It would also permit temporary emergency import relief for perishable products and would automatically grant Trade Adjustment Assistance to workers and companies once injury has been documented by the International Trade Commission.
*Repeal the president's authority to decide whether to grant Trade Adjustment Assistance.
*Broaden the definition of what constitutes injury to U.S. industries by countries that "dump" their products at below-market prices. For the first time, it would allow the United States to impose duties against "diversionary dumping" -- when goods or components are dumped in a third country and then incorporated into a product exported to the United States.
*Permit U.S. firms and workers to file private suits to recover damages related to such imports.
*Authorize punitive action against foreign governments that subsidize the price of natural resources, such as Canadian timber and Mexican natural gas.
*Strengthen existing laws to protect U.S. trademarks, patents and copyrights abroad by eliminating a requirement U.S. companies prove economic injury.
*Give the president authority to conduct a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, as well as providing expanded trade preferences to debt-burdened Latin American countries.