The “Fast-Track” Procedure: Problems of Implementation

The Trade Act of 1974 represented the most significant reformulation of United States international economic policy since the Trade Agreements Act of 1934. Responding to criticism from several quarters, Congress included in the Act major additions to the laws dealing with unfair foreign trade practices. In particular, the Act contained several measures intended to expedite the processing of antidumping complaints. One of these measures, the so-called “fast-track” provision, created a potentially powerful administrative mechanism to permit the summary dismissal of clearly unmeritorious complaints. Unfortunately, implementation of this amendment has suffered from a lack of legislative guidance, and it is not at all clear that the provision has produced significant changes in the administration of the antidumping laws. This article will review the origins of the fast-track provision, and some of the problems associated with its administration.