THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
WASHINGTON, April 4 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a fact sheet on the GATT membership component of the U.S. assistance package for Russia announced at the summit in Vancouver:
President Clinton announced today that the United States will support membership in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) for Russia, when that country applies.
Participation in GATT as a contracting party has been an important Russian goal for some time, and Russia has had observer status in the GATT since May 1990.
The GATT is the principal multilateral agreement governing international trade. It functions not only as a code of conduct for the application of trade protection, but also as a forum for dispute settlement and as a mechanism for the negotiation of trade liberalization.
Its 108 members, called contracting parties, account for more than 85 percent of world trade.
A request from Russia to join GATT will initiate a period of discussion and negotiation among current GATT members to develop a protocol acceptable to the GATT contracting parties containing commitments to manage internationl trade within GATT norms.
President Clinton has offered to initiate informal bilateral
discussion at the technical level with Russian officials to
facilitate Russia's approach to GATT membership.
/U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/