Message to the Congress on Trade With Romania, Hungary, and China

June 3, 1986

To the Congress of the United States:

I hereby transmit the documents referred to in subsection 402(d)(5) of the Trade Act of 1974 with respect to a further 12-month extension of the authority to waive subsections (a) and (b) of Section 402 of the Act. These documents constitute my decision to continue in effect this waiver authority for a further 12-month period.

I include as part of these documents my determination that further extension of the waiver authority will substantially promote the objectives of Section 402. I also include my determination that continuation of the waivers applicable to the Socialist Republic of Romania, the Hungarian People's Republic, and the People's Republic of China will substantially promote the objectives of Section 402. The attached documents also include my reasons for extension of the waiver authority; and for my determination that continuation of the waivers currently in effect for the Socialist Republic of Romania, the Hungarian People's Republic, and the People's Republic of China will substantially promote the objectives of Section 402.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

June 3, 1986.

Report to Congress Concerning Extension of Waiver Authority

Pursuant to subsection 402(d)(5) of the Trade Act of 1974 (hereinafter ``the Act''), I have today determined that further extension of the waiver authority granted by subsection 402(c) of the Act for twelve months will substantially promote the objectives of Section 402 and that continuation of the waivers currently applicable to the People's Republic of China, the Hungarian People's Republic, and the Socialist Republic of Romania will also substantially promote the objectives of Section 402 of the Act. My determination is attached and is incorporated herein.

The general waiver authority conferred by Section 402(c) of the Act is an important means for the strengthening of mutually beneficial relations between the United States and certain countries of Eastern Europe and the People's Republic of China. The waiver authority has permitted us to conclude and maintain in force bilateral trade agreements with Hungary, Romania, and the People's Republic of China. These agreements continue to be fundamental elements in our political and economic relations with those countries, including important exchanges on human rights and emigration matters. Granting of MFN gives U.S. companies the ability to compete in those markets. Moreover, continuation of the waiver authority might permit future expansion of our bilateral relations with other countries now subject to subsections 402(a) and (b) of the Act, should circumstances permit. I believe that these considerations clearly warrant this renewal of the general waiver authority.

I continue to believe that extending the current waivers applicable to Hungary, the People's Republic of China, and Romania will substantially promote the objectives of Section 402 of the Act.

I note the Romanian Government's continued responsiveness to our concerns about its emigration record, the criterion established by Section 402 for extension and continuation of the waiver authority. I am disappointed, however, by the Romanian Government's very limited response to numerous expressions of strong U.S. public, congressional, and Administration concern about its performance in areas of human rights and religious issues, and I am directing the Secretary of State further to press our concerns in these areas.

Hungary. Hungary has continued to take a relatively positive and constructive approach to emigration matters. Nearly all Hungarians who are eligible to apply to emigrate for purposes of family reunification receive permission to depart. The American Embassy in Budapest issued 103 immigrant visas in 1985, approximately 15 percent more than in 1984. There is one pending divided family case, but a resolution is expected shortly. There are no systematic official sanctions imposed on persons who seek to emigrate.

Romania. Emigration from Romania, both overall and to the United States, has increased substantially in the 10 years since the waiver has been in effect. All told, more than 154,000 Romanians have emigrated to the United States, Israel, and the Federal Republic of Germany during this period. In 1985, over 17,000 Romanians emigrated legally to the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States, and Israel. The American Embassy in Bucharest issued visas or other documentation to 2,951 people in 1985 for legal departure from Romania to the United States. This is six times the pre-MFN level. Although the figure reflects a falloff in Romanian passport approvals to individuals qualified for U.S. admissions processing in mid-1985, more than 1,000 recent new approvals and conversations with the Romanian Government suggest that it is taking steps to increase the flow to a level consistent with U.S. immigration and admissions procedures. Ethnic German departures for the Federal Republic of Germany continued apace, with 13,072 in 1985. The 1,327 Romanian Jewish arrivals in Israel were slightly below the average for the last 10 years, and emigration to Israel has now reduced the Romanian Jewish community to under 25,000 people.

Although numerous problems remain in the emigration area, the Administration notes that the Romanian Government's substantial implementation of new procedures for emigration from Romania to the United States, which were arrived at last year, has reduced material and physical hardships for the majority of people departing for the United States since the middle of 1985. The Romanian Government has continued to honor its assurances, given in June 1983, that it would not require reimbursement of education costs as a precondition to emigration.

I share the strong concerns manifested among the public and in the Congress regarding the Romanian Government's restrictions on religious liberties. In consequence, we have urged the Romanian Government to adopt a more humane approach by taking steps such as:

-- releasing jailed religious activists such as Constantin Sfatcu and Dorel Catarama;

-- allowing substantial legal importation or domestic printing of Protestant Bibles and permitting their legal distribution;

-- easing administrative restrictions against Nazarenes, ``unofficial'' Baptists, and other groups that are not officially accepted by the Romanian Government; and

-- easing measures that discourage construction or repair of churches and have allowed, in roughly eight cases in recent years, their demolition on grounds of alleged building code violations.

We welcome the freeing of Constantin Sfatcu and Dorel Catarama from prison, but are otherwise disappointed by the Romanian Government's response to our concerns in this area.

My decision to extend the waiver authority for Romania for 1986 - 87 has been taken with difficulty, following careful deliberation within the Administration. I have concluded that extension of MFN to Romania continues not only substantially to promote the objectives of the Act concerning emigration, but also to enable us to have an impact on human rights concerns and to help to strengthen the extent of religious observance in Romania. The Romanian Government's efforts to discourage religion should not be allowed to overshadow the widespread practice of religion in Romania that, especially among the Protestant denominations, is growing faster than in other countries of Eastern Europe. Romania has some 8,100 functioning Orthodox churches, as well as over 4,000 of other denominations including more than 1,000 functioning Baptist churches. There is extensive training of new ministers. The extension of MFN has facilitated American citizens' access to coreligionists in Romania as well as the flow of several million dollars' worth of material assistance to them each year. In this difficult context, I believe it important that existing access and influence be preserved.

I have instructed the Secretary of State vigorously to pursue our efforts to secure further improvements and to report to me and to the Congress every six months concerning these matters.

People's Republic of China. China continues to have a relatively open emigration policy. The number of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas issued by our Embassy and Consulates in China has increased every year since the United States normalized relations with China in 1979. In fiscal year 1985, 13,356 immigrant visas were issued. In addition, 45,000 nonimmigrant visas, compared with 24,000 the previous year, were issued to Chinese who wished to study, conduct business, or visit relatives in the United States. It remains true that other Western countries have also experienced increases in Chinese travel and emigration.

For the above reasons, I have determined that continuation of the waivers for Hungary, Romania, and the People's Republic of China will substantially promote the objectives of the Act.