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INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS EDUC. & RESEARCH FUND V

October 25, 1990

INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS EDUCATION AND RESEARCH FUND, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
GEORGE BUSH, ET AL., Defendants


Gerhard A. Gesell, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GESELL

GERHARD A. GESELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

MEMORANDUM

 Twenty-three plaintiffs, consisting of labor unions and human rights organizations, have sued President Bush and six members of the Cabinet alleging that defendants have in various respects failed to enforce the worker rights provisions of the Generalized System of Preferences of the Trade Act of 1974 ("GSP"), 19 U.S.C. §§ 2461-66. By prior decision, International Labor Rights Education and Research Fund v. Bush, 752 F. Supp. 4908, Memorandum and Order (D.D.C. 1990), this Court ruled that it has jurisdiction over the controversy. Defendants have now moved to dismiss, contending that the claims are not justiciable and that plaintiffs lack standing. The motion has been thoroughly briefed and considered. For reasons set out below, the motion must be granted and the complaint dismissed.

 GSP was established as part of the Trade Act of 1974, 19 U.S.C. §§ 2411, et seq. When GSP was scheduled to expire in January 1985, Congress extended the program in 1984 by the Generalized System of Preferences Renewal Act of 1984, 19 U.S.C. §§ 2461-66, which, among other things, added the workers rights provision at issue here. Under the GSP, the President is authorized to "provide duty-free treatment for any eligible article from any beneficiary developing country." 19 U.S.C. § 2461. A "beneficiary developing country" is defined as "any country with respect to which there is in effect an Executive order or Presidential proclamation by the President of the United States designating such country as a beneficiary developing country for purposes of this subchapter." Id. § 2462(a).

 As amended, GSP provides a system for unilateral grants of tariff preferences by the United States to developing countries to benefit sectors of developing countries that are not competitive internationally, with mechanisms to protect domestic industries sensitive to import competition from articles receiving preferential tariff treatment. See House Report No. 98-1090, 98th Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1984 U.S. Code Cong. & Adm. News 5101-02. More specifically, GSP is designed: (1) to promote development in developing countries, which need temporary preferential advantages to compete effectively with industrialized countries; (2) to promote the idea that trade is more effective than direct aid in promoting development; (3) to encourage increased trade liberalization measures; and (4) to integrate developing countries into the international trading system in a manner commensurate with their development by encouraging them to reduce trade barriers, to protect intellectual property rights, and to provide internationally recognized workers rights. See 19 U.S.C. § 2461 note (1988).

 After the GSP was first enacted in 1974, the President designated certain articles as eligible for duty-free treatment and designated certain countries as beneficiary developing countries. See Exec. Order 11888, 40 Fed. Reg. 55276 (Nov. 24, 1975). The functions of the President for administering the GSP were initially delegated by Executive Order to the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations, the predecessor of the United States Trade Representative ("USTR") created as part of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. 19 U.S.C. § 1872, Pub.L. No. 87-794. Exec. Order 11846, 40 Fed. Reg. 13456 (March 27, 1975). After the USTR was created in 1979 under Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1979, 19 U.S.C. § 2171 note (1988), it assumed the duties of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations. Following the 1984 amendments, extending the GSP through July 4, 1993, the USTR promulgated regulations establishing procedures for the General and Annual Review process required by the GSP. 15 CFR § 2007.

 The worker rights provisions were added to the GSP statute effective January 1, 1985, and are found in section 2462(b) of 19 U.S.C., which states that the President "shall not designate any country . . . (7) if such country has not taken or is not taking steps to afford internationally recognized workers rights . . . ." (emphasis added).

 The complaint alleges that defendants have not conducted any meaningful investigation since 1985 to assess accurately whether or not countries previously designated under GSP prior to the amendment met the new worker rights standard. Section 2464(b) provides:

 
The President shall . . . withdraw or suspend the designation of any country as a beneficiary developing country if . . . he determines that as a result of changed circumstances such country would be barred from designation as a beneficiary developing country under Section 2462(b) of this title.

 The statute also requires that the President "conduct a general review" of beneficiary developing country status "not later than January 4, 1987, and periodically thereafter." 19 U.S.C. § 2464(c)(2)(A). The President did complete a general review on January 3, 1987. "Periodically thereafter" is not defined in the statute.

 Not only is there only a vague requirement of review from time to time but also GSP contains no specification as to how the President shall make his determination. There is no definition of what constitutes "has not taken . . . steps" or "is not taking steps" to afford internationally recognized rights. Indeed, there is no requirement that the President make findings of fact or any indication that Congress directed or instructed the President as to how he should implement his general withdrawal or suspension authority.

 Given this apparent total lack of standards, coupled with the discretion preserved by the terms of the GSP statute itself and implicit in the President's special and separate authority in the areas of foreign policy there is obviously no statutory direction which provides any basis for the Court to act. The Court cannot interfere with the President's discretionary judgment because there is no law to apply.

 A more detailed examination of the complaint and statutory provisions in the light of well-established precedent will demonstrate that the controversy is definitely nonjusticiable. In such circumstances, plaintiffs have no standing to pursue their claims.

 The complaint reflects what has emerged as an increasing attempts by dissatisfied interests to invoke the judicial process to resolve broad issues of public policy that are properly only the special concern of the Congress. In this instance, it is a long, argumentative document expressing a variety of problems different organizations have encountered with the manner in which the President and his subordinates have interpreted and implemented GSP. They ask the Court by declaratory judgment and mandamus to instruct the President as to the meaning of the GSP and then to order how he should proceed in the future in investigating and imposing sanctions on the developing countries of the world who participate in the GSP program. While it is apparent that plaintiffs find fault with various procedures followed by the Chief Executive since 1985, there is not a single instance in the 28-page complaint which challenges any specific decision of the President. Whether this is because the many plaintiffs themselves have diverse, if not ...


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