[House Report 116-614]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


116th Congress     }                                  {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session        }                                  {       116-614

======================================================================

 
 RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT 
  THE UNITED STATES SHOULD REAFFIRM ITS COMMITMENT AS A MEMBER OF THE 
   WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) AND WORK WITH OTHER WTO MEMBERS TO 
ACHIEVE REFORMS AT THE WTO THAT IMPROVE THE SPEED AND PREDICTABILITY OF 
   DISPUTE SETTLEMENT, ADDRESS LONGSTANDING CONCERNS WITH THE WTO'S 
   APPELLATE BODY, INCREASE TRANSPARENCY AT THE WTO, ENSURE THAT WTO 
    MEMBERS INVOKE SPECIAL AND DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT RESERVED FOR 
 DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ONLY IN FAIR AND APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND 
  UPDATE THE WTO RULES TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF THE UNITED STATES AND 
           OTHER FREE AND OPEN ECONOMIES IN THE 21ST CENTURY

                                _______
                                

  December 2, 2020.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Neal, from the Committee on Ways and Means, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                       [To accompany H. Res. 746]

    The Committee on Ways and Means, to whom was referred the 
resolution (H. Res. 746) expressing the sense of the House of 
Representatives that the United States should reaffirm its 
commitment as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) 
and work with other WTO members to achieve reforms at the WTO 
that improve the speed and predictability of dispute 
settlement, address longstanding concerns with the WTO's 
Appellate Body, increase transparency at the WTO, ensure that 
WTO members invoke special and differential treatment reserved 
for developing countries only in fair and appropriate 
circumstances, and update the WTO rules to address the needs of 
the United States and other free and open economies in the 21st 
century, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with amendments and recommends that the resolution as amended 
be agreed to.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
 I. SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND............................................3
        A. Purpose and Summary...................................     3
        B. Background............................................     3
        C.Legislative History....................................     4
II. EXPLANATION OF THE RESOLUTION.....................................4
III.VOTES OF THE COMMITTEE............................................5

IV. BUDGET EFFECTS OF THE BILL........................................5
        A. Committee Estimate of Budgetary Effects...............     5
        B. Statement Regarding New Budget Authority and Tax 
            Expenditures Budget Authority........................     5
        C. Cost Estimate Prepared by the Congressional Budget 
            Office...............................................     5
 V. OTHER MATTERS TO BE DISCUSSED UNDER THE RULES OF THE HOUSE........5
        A. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations......     5
        B. Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives.     5
        C. Information Relating to Unfunded Mandates.............     5
        D. Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and 
            Limited Tariff Benefits..............................     6
        E. Duplication of Federal Programs.......................     6
VI. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE RESOLUTION, AS REPORTED.......6

    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the resolving clause and insert the 
following:

That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
          (1) the United States should continue to lead reform efforts 
        to ensure that the World Trade Organization (WTO) functions as 
        agreed by the membership and is updated appropriately for the 
        21st century; and
          (2) the United States should continue to urge other WTO 
        members to work with the United States to achieve needed 
        reforms so that the WTO and its members can address unjustified 
        barriers to trade and promote economic norms that improve the 
        standard of living across the world; and
          (3) the United States Trade Representative should continue to 
        lead and work with other countries to pursue reforms at the WTO 
        that--
                  (A) address concerns with the WTO's Appellate Body;
                  (B) improve the efficiency and transparency of 
                dispute settlement proceedings;
                  (C) remediate the failure to satisfy notification 
                obligations of the various WTO agreements and develop 
                accountability mechanisms to address this issue 
                proactively;
                  (D) discipline the use of special and differential 
                treatment for self-declared developing countries; and
                  (E) create new rules and structures that can serve 
                the United States interests while promoting peace, 
                prosperity and open markets and societies.

  Amend the preamble to read as follows:

Whereas the United States is an original member of the World Trade 
Organization (WTO) and a key architect of the institution;

Whereas the WTO is a critical forum for strengthening the multilateral 
rules-based trading system and a bedrock of United States trade policy;

Whereas the United States has provided the leadership and political will to 
advance the goal of the WTO to raise standards of living, expand the 
production of and trade in goods and services, create and enforce rules 
that reduce obstacles to international trade that help ensure a level 
playing field;

Whereas sustained United States leadership in the WTO provides best paths 
to achieve necessary WTO reforms, create new trade rules that enhance 
opportunities for all, and address the needs and challenges of the United 
States and all other free and open economies in the 21st century;

Whereas the WTO is the preferred forum in which member economies resolve 
disputes that arise among them;

Whereas the United States has consistently supported having a functional, 
efficient dispute settlement mechanism at the WTO that strictly follows the 
Dispute Settlement Understanding as agreed by all WTO members and remains 
accountable to WTO members;

Whereas the United States, for decades, has sought to strengthen the WTO 
dispute settlement system by advocating for necessary, thoughtful and 
prudent reforms;

Whereas the United States has expressed longstanding concerns that the WTO 
Appellate Body, through its findings and procedural liberties, is 
improperly adding to or diminishing the rights or obligations of WTO 
members;

Whereas the United States has consistently urged the WTO to improve 
transparency by requiring that all dispute settlement hearings at the WTO 
be open to the public, and all submissions by the parties be publicly 
available;

Whereas, while several WTO members have joined the United States in 
agreeing to open hearings to the public and in making public submissions, 
most WTO Members continue to insist on closed hearings and confidential 
submissions;

Whereas transparent WTO dispute settlement enhances WTO members' 
understanding of the dispute settlement system, particularly for those who 
do not participate often in the system;

Whereas open dispute settlement promotes the accountability, 
professionalism, and impartiality of WTO adjudicators, to the benefit of 
the dispute settlement system as a whole;

Whereas many WTO members have failed to meet basic notification obligations 
making it difficult and, in some cases, impossible to monitor or determine 
their compliance with WTO obligations, including subsidies disciplines;

Whereas the United States has encouraged, by proposing various incentives 
and administrative measures, better compliance with notification 
obligations;

Whereas the WTO allows members to self-identify as developing countries in 
order to receive special and differential treatment;

Whereas some self-declared developing countries that are now advanced 
continue to demand the same special and differential treatment intended for 
much smaller, less developed members, creating asymmetries that hinder the 
WTO from achieving meaningful outcomes in current and future negotiations;

Whereas for over a decade, most WTO members have refused to engage in 
serious efforts to address longstanding United States calls for reform of 
dispute settlement and other important aspects of the WTO system; and

Whereas WTO members are engaged in negotiations to reform the WTO and 
create new rules, including with respect to fisheries subsidies and e-
commerce: Now, therefore, be it

                       I. SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND


                         A. Purpose and Summary

    H. Res. 746, a Resolution to Support and Reform the World 
Trade Organization (WTO), as amended and ordered reported by 
the Committee on Ways and Means on December 17, 2019, expresses 
the sense of the House of Representatives that the United 
States should reaffirm its commitment as a member of the World 
Trade Organization (WTO) and work with other WTO members to 
reform the WTO.

                             B. Background

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental 
organization that is concerned with the regulation of 
international trade between nations. The WTO was officially 
established on January 1, 1995, replacing the General Agreement 
on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in 1948 which grew out 
of the international political and economic upheaval and 
conflicts of the 1930s and World War II.
    The WTO is the largest international economic organization 
in the world that deals with the regulation of trade in goods, 
services and intellectual property between participating 
countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade 
agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing 
participants' adherence to WTO agreements. The United States 
has been a long-time champion of and leader at the WTO and is 
credited with being one of the organization's most 
consequential founding members. The United States has provided 
the leadership and political will to advance the goals of the 
WTO to raise standards of living, expand the production of and 
trade in goods and services, and create and enforce rules that 
reduce obstacles to international trade and help ensure a level 
playing field.
    While Congress has been an ardent supporter of U.S. 
participation and leadership in the WTO, Members of Congress 
for more than 20 years have expressed serious concerns with the 
functioning of the organization. In particular, Congress has 
sought to improve the speed and predictability of dispute 
settlement and address longstanding concerns with the WTO's 
Appellate Body, including its findings and procedural liberties 
that are improperly adding to or diminishing the rights or 
obligations of WTO members. Congress has also sought to 
increase transparency at the WTO, ensure that WTO members 
invoke special and differential treatment reserved for 
developing countries only in fair and appropriate 
circumstances, and update the WTO rules to address the needs of 
the United States and other free and open economies in the 21st 
century.
    In October 2019, a bipartisan Congressional delegation from 
the Ways and Means Committee traveled to the WTO to learn 
first-hand the current impediments to a functioning World Trade 
Organization, including the Appellate Body, as well as 
understand the impasse to WTO negotiations and reforms. The 
trip confirmed that Congress' long-standing concerns have not 
been addressed.

                         C. Legislative History


Background

    H. Res. 746 was introduced by Representatives Kind (D-WI), 
Schweikert (R-AZ), Beyer (D-VA), Marchant (R-TX), DelBene (D-
WA), J. Smith (R-MO), Sewell (D-AL), and Estes (R-KS) on 
December 6, 2019, and was referred to the Committee on Ways and 
Means.

Committee hearings

    The Committee held a hearing with U.S. Trade Representative 
Robert Lighthizer on June 19, 2019 entitled, ``The 2019 Trade 
Policy Agenda: Negotiations with China, Japan, the EU, and UK; 
new NAFTA/USMCA; U.S. Participation in the WTO; and other 
matters.''

Committee action

    The Committee on Ways and Means marked up H. Res. 746 on 
December 17, 2019, and ordered the bill, as amended, favorably 
reported (with a quorum being present) by voice vote.

                   II. EXPLANATION OF THE RESOLUTION

    H. Res. 746, a Resolution to Support and Reform the World 
Trade Organization (WTO), reaffirms the commitment of the 
United States to the WTO and calls on the United States to work 
with other WTO members to achieve reforms at the WTO that 
improve the speed and predictability of dispute settlement, 
address longstanding concerns with the WTO's Appellate Body, 
increase transparency at the WTO, ensure that WTO members 
invoke special and differential treatment reserved for 
developing countries only in fair and appropriate 
circumstances, and update the WTO rules to address the needs of 
the United States and other free and open economies in the 21st 
century.

                      III. VOTES OF THE COMMITTEE

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the following statement is made 
concerning the vote of the Committee on Ways and Means in its 
consideration of H. Res. 746, a Resolution to Support and 
Reform the World Trade Organization (WTO), on December 17, 
2019.
    The Chairman's amendment in the nature of a substitute was 
adopted by a voice vote (with a quorum being present).
    The bill, H. Res. 746, as amended, was ordered favorably 
reported by voice vote (with a quorum being present).

                     IV. BUDGET EFFECTS OF THE BILL


               A. Committee Estimate of Budgetary Effects

    Clause 3(d) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable to the resolution.

B. Statement Regarding New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures Budget 
                               Authority

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable.

      C. Cost Estimate Prepared by the Congressional Budget Office

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
Congressional Budget Office did not provide a cost estimate for 
the resolution.

     V. OTHER MATTERS TO BE DISCUSSED UNDER THE RULES OF THE HOUSE


          A. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    With respect to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee made findings and recommendations that are 
reflected in this report.

        B. Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    With respect to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
resolution contains no measure that authorizes funding, so no 
statement of general performance goals and objectives for which 
any measure authorizes funding is required.

              C. Information Relating to Unfunded Mandates

    This information is provided in accordance with section 423 
of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. No. 104-
4).
    The Committee has determined that the resolution does not 
contain Federal mandates on the private sector. The Committee 
has determined that the resolution does not impose a Federal 
intergovernmental mandate on State, local, or tribal 
governments.

  D. Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
                                Benefits

    With respect to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee has carefully reviewed 
the provisions of the resolution, and states that the 
provisions of the resolution do not contain any congressional 
earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits 
within the meaning of the rule.

                   E. Duplication of Federal Programs

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee states that no 
provision of the resolution establishes or reauthorizes: (1) a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program; (2) a program included in any report 
to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139; or 
(3) a program related to a program identified in the most 
recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, published 
pursuant section 6104 of title 31, United States Code.

    VI. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE RESOLUTION, AS REPORTED

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that H. 
Res. 746 does not make any changes to existing law.

                                  [all]