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Data on ceramic tableware for household use-Imports and domestic production
for United States consumption analyzed (quantities in thousands of dozens)
1 Constant report by 21 members of United States Potters Association, who account for the production of most of the high-quality earthenware tableware made in the United States. In 1956, only 20 potteries reported-1 small operation having been liquidated. By July 1, 1958, 7 other of the original 21 potteries reporting had been liquidated.
i Constant report by six members of the American Fine China Guild, who account for the production of most of the high-quality, lightweight chinaware tableware made in the United States
3 Derived. Relationship of shipments and value of shipments by guild members to that reported for total industry in 1948 is assumed to be in some ratio as existed for 1950 plus 1951. Industry data drawn from Tariff Commission's escape-clause report dated February
1 As reported by U. 8. Department of Commerce. Does not include substantial quantities and values of ware brought in duty free-principally over Canadian border. Includes all qualities of production.
Source: R. C. Cobourn, Syracuse China Corp., July 1, 1958.
Senator KERR. Mr. Carl Gustkey?
STATEMENT OF CARL W. GUSTKEY, AMERICAN GLASSWARE
ASSOCIATION, ACCOMPANIED BY R. L. DAVIS Mr. GUSTKEY. Senator Kerr and members of the committee: My name is Carl W. Gustkey. I am president of the Imperial Glass Corp. in Bellaire, Ohio.
I am testifying before this committee today on behalf of my company and the manufacturing members of the American Glassware Association producing handmade, pressed, and blown table, stem, and ornamental glassware, and for cutters and decorators of glassware.
The manufacturing members we represent provide approximately 75 percent of the total dollar value of shipments produced by handmade glassware manufacturers in the United States.
Approximately 5,000 workers are dependent upon the companies in the industry for their bread and butter-many thousands more of their families depend upon their wages.
Reductions in tariffs on imported glassware competing with the domestic manufacturers have driven tariff duties down from as high as 60 percent in 1930 to a low of 15 percent under various extensions of the act.
Handmade plants producing illuminating scientific and laboratory glassware have suffered in like measure under the act. Reductions in tariffs range from 70 percent, under the Tariff Act of 1930, down to 2512 percent under the present extension of the act.
These manufacturers make such products as electronic tubes, fire 'warning lenses, lenses for shipboard running lights and many other engineered glass articles essential to the country in wartime.
In about the past 4 years 8 handmade glassware companies have either gone out of business or their operations have been severely restricted owing principally to import competition.
Within the past 2 months the famous A. H. Heisey Co., of Newark, Ohio, has gone out of business and the Gill Glass & Fixture. Co., another handmade glassware plant in business for probably 50 years, ceased operations on June 29 and is being liquidated.
Altogether, within the past few years, 16 companies have been forced out of business and their workers put out of their jobs.
Any application of further reductions in tariff under the act as proposed, in our opinion, will drive the handmade glassware industry inexorably toward oblivion.
In this crucial situation of the industry we are left with no alternative but to oppose the provisions of an act, which, if effectuated, will place the industry in the gravest danger and result in widespread unemployment and hardship in our communities.
The glassworker, unlike workers in other industries, is unprepared to work in other industries in a similar skilled position.
In most (or a very high percentage of) instances his skills were developed through generations of glassworkers in his family.
To accentuate this bit of information I would like to offer the testimony that in my own company, 53 years old, the average age of our skilled workers is 54.
The industry recognizes the United States must honor its commitments and obligations but when our industry, let alone whole segments of industry, composing an important part of our national economy is seriously injured by import competition to the point of business cessation in the only markets left in which to sell its products and, coincidentally, with exports practically eliminated, we submit it is time to reverse such a trend, and we believe now is the time.
Senator KERR. I am not going to interrupt you at all.
Mr. GUSTKEY. I touch further in detail on the exports of this group of hand manufacturers further along.
Our figures are quite contrary to that, Senator Kerr.
Mr. GUSTKEY. Although we feel a number of changes could be made in the presently proposed act, there are two provisions considered
particularly objectionable which, with the greatest justification, we strongly feel should be rectified.
First, the 25 percent tariff cutting provision over the next 5 years is altogether too great a reduction.
Also, an extension of the act for 5 years is too long a time.
Secondly authority to regulate commerce and trade as provided by the Constitution of the United States, should be returned to Congress. Specifically, the President should not be delegated the authority to reject the recommendations of the Tariff Commission.
The Tariff Commission's recommendations, passed by a majority vote should be final except in a situation of proven danger to the country.
In support of these views we lay before you pertinent information on the condition of the industry. Attached to your copy of this statement is exhibit A giving a comparison of handmade blown glassware with significant economic trends.
The source of information is the Department of Commerce.
In recent years there has been a tremendous economic upswing in the United States as indicated by the fact that the gross national product increased in value from $285 billion in 1950 to $434 billion in 1957-an increase of 52 percent.
During the same period, shipments of handmade blown glassware went down every year from 2,419,000 dozen in 1950 to 1,804,000 dozen in 1957-a drop since 1950 of 25.4 percent.
Senator KERR. In order that I may understand, does that refer only to domestic production? Mr. GUSTKEY. Yes, sir.
Senator KERR. In other words, during that same period shipments of domestic handmade blown glassware would be right?
Mr. GUSTKEY. Yes, sir.
Import figures from the Bureau of Census are not yet available for 1957. However, it will serve the purpose to use 1956 figures to show the adverse balance of trade in handmade glassware items.
In this year after deducting exports from domestic shipments, United States consumption of handmade glassware made by domestic producers totaled $30,095,000 as compared to imports of like glassware amounting to $7,529,000. Thus imports have increased to 25 percent of the total shipments for United States consumption.
Senator ANDERSON. What does it normally run—what did it run in 1950? Mr. GUSTKEY. 1950 ?
Senator ANDERSON. You don't show what it normally is. This might be the normal figure.
Senator KERR. In other words, you show the domestic production in 1950 was 2,419,000 of them, but you do not show what the imports were in 1950, do you, or is that later?
Mr. GUSTKEY. Yes, sir; I do.
Mr. GUSTKEY. Well, on exhibit A, when we get to that, sir, we will cover it if you desire to wait until then.
It is most difficult for the industry to recognize anything reciprocal about the present Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act when faced with the stark reality that in 1956 the value of domestic shipments totaled
$30,326,000 of which only eight-tenths of 1 percent, or $231,000 represented total exports of American-made handmade glassware.
The ruinous competition under the act from imported glassware continues to intensify and to disproportionately outstrip the consumption trend. It is anticipated that when the 1957 value of imported glassware is reported by Census the percentage of the domestic market taken over by foreign concerns will exceed 25 percent.
In addition to the lowering of tariffs, the low cost of production made possible by extremly low wages paid foreign glassworkers as compared to domestic glass wages, has caused a disrupting influence on home markets.
Approximately two-thirds of the total cost of making handmade glassware is in the wages paid workers. The following comparison includes fringe benefits of both American glassware workers' wages and the wages of foreign workers. In the latter instance fringe wage factors have been accepted for use from the United States Department of Labor.
In December of 1956 the average wage of American skilled and unskilled workers was $2.23 per hour. The most recent earnings per hour of foreign glassworkers and, in certain instances related industries, shows Japan pays male and female worker's an average of 30 cents; France, in glass, ceramics and construction materials, 54 cents to 71 cents; West Germany, males in the glass industry only, 64 cents; Italy, in the glass industry only, males and females averaged 60 cents; Belgium, male workers in nonmetallic minerals including glass, 56 cents; Sweden in the glass industry only males averaged 92 cents; and in the United Kingdom, in glass, males received 83 cents an hour.
Costwise, these wages show a tremendous advantage over the average $2.23 per hour paid by the glassware industry in the United States. Low-wage scales resulting in low-cost foreign glassware, also have been responsible, in the main, for the exclusion of the industry from foreign markets.
The wage scales in the United States do not permit the manufacturers to sell their products in competition with foreign glassware in other countries. Even in our own hemisphere American manufacturers cannot compete for a part of the South American markets.
Twelve years ago our own company, Senator Kerr and gentlemen, exported into 14 different countries. Today Canada only is open to us.
Thus, on a note of conclusion regarding the proposed 25 percent tariff cutting provision over the next 5 years, we submit that our industry not only can stand no tariff cuts of any nature in the future, we say, on the basis of all of these specific jusifications that the industry is already suffering under the extension of the present act.
Now we come to our second conviction that the Tariff Commission's recommendations should be final.
In 1952 the handmade glassware industry petitioned the Tariff Commission for relief under the escape-clause provision. The President rejected a 3–3 decision for the industry's relief.
Our testimony has demonstrated to you how imports are forcing the handmade industry to its knees in the only market left for its products—the home market in the United States.
Senator KERR. Just one minute.
That action in 1952 was rejected and I would presume on the basis of your testimony that actually if you could only reclaim what you had in 1952 you would then think the millenium had arrived, would you not?
Mr. GUSTKEY. Yes.
Senator ANDERSON. Are you able to say how many 3–3 decisions they have made down there?
Mr. GUSTKEY. I am going to try to summarize cases that came up.
Senator ANDERSON. There are more tie ball games in that league than I ever heard of. [Laughter.]
Mr. GUSTKEY. Through the only avenue open to secure the relief it so desperately needs, the industry within the next few weeks will again apply to the Tariff Commission for relief in order to save this 350-year-old industry from destruction at the hand of foreign competition.
Even with the situation as crucial as it is today, what chance has the industry of securing such relief under the laws of our land even if the Commission is unanimous in its opinion that such relief should be granted.
As of June 1, 1958, 30 cases have been sent to the President for approval or rejection. Of these 30 cases, 17, or 57 percent, received Presidential rejection.
Of the 17 cases, 6, or 35 percent of them, carried the unanimous decision of the Commissioners for relief, but were rejected.
Six other cases, for another 35 percent, carrying a majority opinion for relief were rejected and finally 5 other cases representing 30 percent of the total carried to the President's office, carried a split decision of 3–3 and also were rejected.
At many thousands of dollars in expense to both the industry as well as the Government, applications for relief are thoroughly investigated. Thousands of hours of time and effort are put into the analysis of investigation findings and into weighing all the elements for and against the problems of the particular industry.
In our opinion it it inconceivable that the President or his staff, within 90 days after receiving a unanimous or majority recommendation from the Commission for an industry's relief, can justify a rejection of the Commission's findings.
It takes the Commission 9 months of investigations, analysis, and hearings to arrive at their conclusions.
Dismissal of recommendations for relief on the basis of so-called overriding political and/or international considerations are in our opinion meaningless : American industry deserves specific reasons good and sufficient reasons related to national emergency for any rejection of the Commission's majority and unanimous recommendations.
The proposed extension of the present act clearly indicates that the executive branch proposes to continue its tariff cutting. It is equally clear that industries like the glassware industry cannot, with any degree of certainty depend upon receiving relief under the escape clause although conclusive injury may be found by the Tariff Commission.