Political Questions in International Trade: Judicial Review of Section 301?

Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”) has become an increasingly potent and widely-used tool in the U.S. arsenal of trade policy measures. The past few years have seen a proliferation of Section 301 cases, affecting the trade of goods and services in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Even so, in the debate over the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (“Omnibus Trade Act”), Congress expressed impatience with the President’s discretion in not undertaking more Section 301 retaliations. But while much attention has focused on the politics and policy aspects of Section 301, little has been discussed of the legal issues underpinning it.