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WTO Chief Says Buy American Legislation Complies With World Trade Rules

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), says the Buy American provisions in the US government's economic stimulus package have been structured in such a way that they do not violate global trade rules. While deploring protectionist measures in general, Lamy believes the Buy Amercan law is consistent with the US WTO obligations because it presents some opportunities for other countries to share in the expanded public works projects funded under the bill. He did not comment on the new requirements for the Transportation Security Agency and perhaps eventually for some other Department of Homeland Security agencies, to buy US-made uniforms and other textile products, but US textile officials believe they comply with terms of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement.

Lamy made a strong appeal for resumption of the Doha Round of trade liberalization negotiations but said this will have to await formation of the new administration's trade team. He said the Doha Round is the "best insurance policy available" to combat protectionist pressures.

March 3, 2009