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CHEMICAL WORKERS UNION JOINS CANADA TRADE FIGHT

 HOUSTON, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing a "compelling interest" in the outcome of a trade dispute over subsidized Canadian chemical manufacturing, the International Chemical Workers Union (ICWU) has moved to join Vista Chemical Company's action calling for U.S. government intervention in the dispute.
 Vista last week petitioned United States Trade Representative Michael Kantor to initiate an investigation into what it believes is a blatant example of a foreign government using the United States' trade laws to unfairly compete against U.S. industry.
 Specifically, the case involves the declared intention of a unit of the Quebec government, the Societe generale de financement du Quebec, to fund 49 percent of a joint venture near Montreal to manufacture linear alkylbenzene (LAB), a chemical used in many cleaning products. Because demand in Canada for the commodity chemical is flat at approximately 70 million pounds and because the plant will produce approximately 220 million pounds annually, Vista and the ICWU believe that SGF-Quebec will attempt to sell it in the United States at artificially low prices.
 In a letter to Kantor asking to join the Vista Petition, ICWU President Frank Martino said, "Our members are directly and adversely affected by the loss of jobs as (U.S.) plants are forced to cut back or close down."
 Vista Chemical and the ICWU have filed the petition under Section 409(b) of the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Implementing Act (P.L. 100-449). That law authorizes the USTR to "designate" an industry if he finds it likely to face increased government-subsidized competition from Canadian imports as a result of the 1988 Free Trade Agreement. Among others, as a result of the FTA, the protective U.S tariff on LAB was eliminated.
 Vista and the ICWU are also asking Ambassador Kantor to initiate an investigation by the International Trade Commission to develop more information on the subsidies provided by SGF-Quebec to this project and their effects on the U.S. LAB industry.
 Under the law, the USTR may also consider taking retaliatory action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
 The Vista petition is believed to be only the second such petition ever filed under the 1988 Act. It is the first such petition to be filed during the Clinton Administration.
 -0- 7/21/93
 /CONTACT: Mike Reynolds, Vista Chemical Company, 713-588-3210/


CO: Vista Chemical Company; International Chemical Workers Union ST: Texas IN: CHM SU:

LG -- NY073 -- 3978 07/21/93 13:18 EDT
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Date:Jul 21, 1993
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