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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Liberia,   pp. 785-857 PDF (27.0 MB)

Page 800

  There are commercial treaties or agreements in force between the
United States and twenty-nine other countries containing the uncon-
ditional most-favored-nation clause. A list describing them appears
on pages 18-21 of the enclosed copy of Treaty Infornation Bulletin
No. 95, August, 1937. None of these treaties or agreements contains
an exception such as has been proposed by the Liberian Government.
  It is manifest that concessions generalized through the most-
favored-nation clause will result in a far greater reduction of trade
barriers generally than would result from concessions made exclusively
to one country or a limited group of countries. There could be no
doubt that widespread acceptance and application of the unconditional
most-favored-nation principle is essential to the removal of those
obstacles to trade which are now impeding world recovery.
  The United States is endeavoring to secure the cooperation of all
other countries in its program for the removal of all discriminations
and the liberalization of trade barriers generally. A practical con-
tribution toward that end by the United States has been made by
duty reductions, effected through trade agreements, on imports con-
stituting approximately 25 to 30% of total dutiable imports into the
United States.
  This Government would be happy to have the Liberian Government
associated with it in the broad program of the liberalization of
measures affecting international trade. It is felt that the acceptance
by the Liberian Government of the unconditional most-favored-nation
clause, without sweeping exceptions, would be a valuable contribution
toward that program.
Article IX
  The Liberian Government suggests the addition to the provision
that quotas are to be allocated on the basis of a representative period
of the condition "provided one of the High Contracting Parties shall
accord to the other High Contracting Party similar reciprocal con-
siderations as may be granted by any third country".
  This Government believes that quotas should be allocated without
condition on the basis of a previous representative period. To require
the payment of "equivalent compensation" for equitable treatment
in the matter of quotas is to render the provision nugatory. There
are sixteen trade agreements now in force between the United States
and other countries and in so far as they deal with quotas they embody
the principle of unconditional allocation on the basis of imports in a
previous representative period.
  The changes in phraseology suggested for the last sentence of
Article IX are acceptable.

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