Established in 1989, during the GATT Uruguay Round negotiations, the Committee To Support US Trade Laws (CSUSTL), was formed to maintain and advance US trade remedy laws. For the past three decades the group has continued this mission, becoming recognized as the nation's lead advocate for the laws and a trusted repository for technical expertise on their application.
"STANDING STRONG FOR US TRADE LAWS"
The story of CSUSTL starts in 1989 on the shore of Switzerland's Lake Geneve at the GATT Building, known as the Centre William Rappard, when a small band of US companies, businesses, and lawyers gathered together to meet with negotiators over concerns with the Uruguay Round trade negotiations. Since the beginning of the Round in September, 1986, two major U.S. trade remedy laws were increasingly coming under attack. They were the antidumping (AD) law, which combats the sale of imported products at less than their fair market value, and countervailing duty (CVD) law, which aims to offset foreign government subsidization of imported goods. Negotiators from 123 nations around the world were traveling to Geneva to resume discussions following the stalled talks in Montreal two
years earlier. At that time the talks had ended in a deadlock but there was a sense that momentum was now building for an agreement that would be the largest trade agreement in history - actually the largest negotiated agreement of any kind - affecting most of the known world. They were right to be concerned because US trading partners were using the talks to demand changes to the US trade remedy laws that would destroy their effectiveness and leave millions of Americans vulnerable to the predatory trade practices of these nations. These laws are critical to the long term health of US business and workers.
Despite the poor political outlook the group, which was being referred to by the GATT negotiators as that "committee to support US trade laws", or CSUSTL, began to see small successes with decision makers as their technical and policy arguments were accepted
“CSUSTL came about as producers, farmers, ranchers and workers needed a group to articulate the importance of U.S. trade remedy laws, to identify challenges posed by trading partners, to ensure the maintenance and strengthening of U.S. trade remedy laws to ensure that our businesses and workers compete on a level playing field. For our clients, CSUSTL over the last thirty years or more has been an important voice to ensure fairness in the operation of the U.S. market when imports are an important presence. With the current challenges posed by the rise of state-directed economies and the subsidies and distortions flowing from their approach to competing, CSUSTL is more important than ever for companies operating in the U.S. and their workers to see that U.S. law ensure fair competition."
...Terry Stewart, of Stewart & Stewart, Founding CSUSTL Member
both in Washington DC and Geneva. At that time, and in subsequent reports, USTR acknowledged the U.S. negotiating position was formulated using extensive congressional and private sector consultations. Over the coming months a 450-page draft of the final agreement (known as the "Final Act") was compiled by GATT director-general, Arthur Dunkel, who chaired the negotiations. Negotiators agreed to use the text as a basis for their continuing talks. Following another two years of discussions, an agreement was reached, and on December 15, 1993 GATT Director General Sutherland gaveled the Uruguay Round to an end. President Clinton notified Congress that he intended to enter into the trade agreement, and on April 15, 1994 GATT member-nation officials executed the "Final Act."
“During its early years, CSUSTL was simply an information exchange. No meetings on the Hill as 'CSUSTL', just attempts to coordinate individual positions of participating companies, unions, trade associations and law firms. We had no budget, no position papers, no press releases. I always believed that approach substantially underutilized the considerable strength CSUSTL could have by developing common positions and pursuing them in the name of the group. So, when I was invited to become the second leader of CSUSTL, I tried to steer the group in that direction. Fortunately, it worked and CSUSTL today is a powerful, recognized, well-managed and effective organization -- a formidable entity safeguarding essential US trade laws."
...David "Skip" Hartquist, of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, Founding CSUSTL Member
There were many desperate moments during these long years when it appeared the trade laws would be significantly diminished. CSUSTL worked tirelessly with US negotiators and members of Congress to aggressively push back, and were ultimately successful. The trade remedy laws were maintained largely in their existing form. But a lesson was learned. Offshore producers, who used illegal unfair trade practices, to destroy US industry and capture the domestic markets were not going to stop their assault. Already there where whispers that those who had opposed the laws during the negotiations were planning to use the recently signed agreement to renew their attacks. The Uruguay Round had provided them with another tool in their war on the laws. With the newly created World Trade Organization, there now existed a worrisome dispute settlement mechanism, which many in the US feared could be used to gut our laws over the coming years
through cases decided in the international forum. Besides this growing pressure there were also those within the Administration and Congress claiming the laws were no longer needed. CSUSTL was born out of the Round, but it was clear to the group, that as it ended the threat to the trade remedy laws was not going away. In fact, the laws were becoming increasingly vulnerable under the newly created World Trade Organization (WTO). The need for CSUSTL remained.
“Over the course of decades CSUSTL has served as the leading advocate for strong trade laws and effective enforcement of those trade laws. In its earliest days CSUSTL brought domestic manufacturing, agriculture and fishery industries together to work toward these goals on a bipartisan basis. In particular CSUSTL played a major role in advocating for strong trade laws in reference to the negotiation, implementing legislation and regulatory provisions involved in the creation and adoption of both the WTO and NAFTA. Since that time CSUSTL has consistently provided thorough analysis on a broad range of international trade issues including international negotiations, legislative and regulatory proposals, and Customs administration. It also often has filed amicus curia briefs to the courts considering issues of broad policy importance. As such, CSUSTL has become respected by policymakers from both sides of the aisle for its knowledgeable and experienced support of the U.S. producing interests in the trade law debate."
...Andrew Kentz, of Picard Kentz & Rowe LLP, Founding CSUSTL Member
For the past 30 years CSUSTL has pursued its mission of strong and effective US trade laws. In doing so, it has become recognized as the leading champion of these laws, both internationally and domestically, while its membership includes the world's top experts on the application of the laws. From high points such as the passage of the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA) to the ongoing battles of challenges within the WTO dispute settlement process the group has demonstrated that as long as our trading partners attempt to use predatory trade practices to capture US markets and steal our jobs CSUSTL will be at the front of the battle working to stop them.