Atlantic Legal Foundation Sues Department of Commerce, Office of U.S. Trade Representative

Representing members of an Industry Sector Advisory Committee for Chemicals and Allied Products, Atlantic Legal is seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to enable representatives of the U.S. chemical industry to advise U.S. trade officials regarding the negotiation and implementation of trade policies.

When the issue was first litigated, prior to the Presidential campaign, the Administration agreed that committee membership had been limited by Congress, in the Trade Act of 1974, to producers, thus precluding sector committee membership for environmental organizations and other special interests?. As the campaign heated up, however, the Administration abruptly and without explanation did an about face. It refused to convene meetings of the Chemical Sector Advisory Committee which for years had met on a monthly basis and sought the nomination of an environmental representative? to the Committee, even though the Committees charter and the Trade Act limits membership to producers. Other trade advisory committees provide for membership of environmental interests. The upshot is that international trade experts representing many producers of chemicals and allied products are frozen out of the negotiation and implementation of international trade agreements.

Because of the importance of upcoming negotiations with Singapore and Chile, Atlantic Legal has requested an order permitting the committee members to function as mandated by the Trade Act and a declaration that committee membership be limited to producers.