« 이전계속 »
or not a given American industry may be sacrificed, we feel should be scientifically determined. And I am a little surprised that the League of Women Voters, who have taken so nonpolitical and nonpartisan an approach-I think Mrs. Brewster has been a member a long time—should abandon that approach.
Mrs. RUEBHAUSEN. Oh, I think you misunderstand me, Senator Brewster. I would not say that we had abandoned the approach that there should be a very careful and thorough appraisal of all of the tariff concessions which are going to be negotiated.
Senator BREWSTER. Have you followed the procedures here in these cases? During the early stages of that, we were utterly unable to find out who determined them, or by what means they determined them. It was only after a tremendous controversy that we could even get the names of those who were on these commissions, and who were proceeding. In other words, it has been conducted behind a mask of a great deal of secrecy, which has been a matter of increasing concern to all those interested in American industry and agriculture.
Senator MilliKIN. May I interrupt? Yesterday they refused to give us the minutes of the Interdepartmental Committee.
Mrs. RUEBHAU'SEN. On the whole, on a matter of balance, I think you have to judge what the program has done. And I do not feel that it has hurt American industry.
Senator BREWSTER. Now, that is very interesting. Do you feel that the last 16 years have been a typical period in our economy?
Mrs. RUEBHAUSEN. I think we have had everything; we have had inflation, deflation, war.
Senator BREWSTER. Do you think the question of whether or not tariff reductions would adversely affect our economy has had any fair trial during the last 16 years?
Mrs. RUEBHAUSEN. Well, as I say, I think we have had all kinds of different conditions.
Senator BREWSTER. We have had them for the first 8 years, anyway. I am sure you are old enough to remember that. We had a depression here, from 1932, perhaps a little earlier, to 1940; and then we had a world war. Now, do you think that during those periods, we had any fair test of the principle of protection in our industry?
Mrs. RUEBHAUSEN. Well, particularly during the depression, as you well know, we raised tariff barriers and tried to protect our own industries. In 1930, the Smoot-Hawley tariff came in. According to my view the depression started in 1929.
Senator BREWSTER. Yes; I think that is right. And the SmootHawley tariff did not come in until 1930. So I am sure you would not attribute it to that.
Mrs. RUEBHAUSEN. No; I wouldn't attribute it to the Smoot-Hawley tariff.
Senator BREWSTER. For 7 years following it, from '33 to 40, the power to reduce all tariffs by 50 percent was in the hands of the administration, and still we had 8,000,000 unemployed in 1940. So apparently it had not cured the depression. Is that right?
Mrs. RUEBHAUSEN. Well, I don't think that anybody would ever say that trade agreements in themselves can either make or cure a depression. Because there are so many other factors involved. They are a facet, and they play a role in it. But no one thing has a determining role.
Senator BREWSTER. Well, I think you will find, if you examine it, that most students are agreed that from 1930—I will join you at 1930 or whatever period you want-down to very recent months, there has been no fair test of the effect of the impact of these reductions. You have gone from around 59 percent down to around 13 percent. And now we are beginning to find out the consequences. We are just emerging. And I hope that your group, for which I have very high respect, will follow this situation very closely and make sure that your conclusions correspond with the realities of unemployment, that are a very ugly cloud now on our horizon.
Mrs. RUEBHAUSEN. That is what we try to do in our groups, to understand that the causes of unemployment are not just one thing, but that there are many, many factors pressing on the situation. And we try to take that over-all point of view.
Senator BREWSTER. I very much appreciate your testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Ruebhausen, we appreciate your appearance. Thank you very much. Mrs. REUBHAUSEN. Thank you, Senator. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Millin?
STATEMENT OF F. E. MOLLIN, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, AMERICAN
NATIONAL LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION, DENVER, COLO.
Mr. MOLLIN. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. You are representing the American National Livestock Association ? Mr. Mollin. Yes, sir.
The following resolution was adopted on January 13, 1949 by the American National Live Stock Association at its fifty-second annual convention held at North Platte, Nebr.
Whereas the increasing imports of many agricultural products, including livestock and meat products, emphasize the importance of providing the United States Tariff Commission with authority to take quick action whenever needed adequately to protect American agriculture; and
Whereas the Reciprocal Trade Act will expire on June 30, 1949: Therefore, be it
Resolved, That we urge the Congress, if it extends the act, to clothe the United States Tariff Commission with the power needed to proect agriculture from a flood of imports that would prevent stability in operations of domestic producers.
Our assocation has always believed in a tariff policy that would protect the producers of this country when domestic supplies are heavy and prices depressed and conversely would protect the consumers when domestic supplies are light and prices relatively high. We believe that this is a sound policy for our national economy and that as world conditions become more normal, with the production of agricultural products and manufactured goods on the increase, it will be impossible to maintain the high wage levels and the high standards of living which obtain in this country today unless we adhere to such a policy. We have watched closely the development of the reciprocal trade program which started soon after the passage of the original act in 1934. We have felt that it has not been administered in a fashion which would help protect the economy of this country in the manner referred to above. It is apparent that many tariff reductions have
86697—49—pt. 1- 18
been made that were not necessary to comply with the language of the original law. In other words, they were no barriers to trade. Such reductions have been made in many instances with countries which were not the principal producers of given commodities although originally it was stated that this method would be followed. The practice of rather indiscriminate cutting of tariffs, together with the most-favored-nation clause, has had the result of sharply reducing tariffs all along the line, whether or not such reductions were necessary or desirable from the standpoint of future protection of American agriculture and industry
The method of holding hearings in our opinion does not afford a fair and reasonable opportunity to representatives of industry and agriculture to have the merits of their positions in trade matters fully considered by the officials who actually write the trade agreements. We refer to the hearings before the committee for reciprocity information. It does not appear to us that the members of this committee have been charged with the responsibility of protecting the interests of the various American groups on matters under consideration; for example, it would be assumed that the representative of the Department of Agriculture would be particularly concerned witgh the effect of tariff reductions on agricultural products. It has been our observation that with but one or two exceptions this has not been the case. Generally, the representative of the Department of Agriculture has appeared to be entirely in sympathy with the general program of tariff reductions and the trend toward a free-trade basis.
It is our belief that we are just approaching the first real test of the Reciprocal Trade Act. The agreements originally made had only been in effect a short time before nations of the world began to stock pile in anticipation of war. Then came the war period itself and a period of several years after the war, when there was a world-wide shortage of goods and services and when the tariff as such had little if any effect upon export trade of the world. That situation no longer obtains. World shortages are turning into world surpluses. It is no longer a seller's market but a buyer's market. Under these conditions it seems more important than ever that there should be some check upon the executive authority to make trade agreements; that this check should be an agency of the Government empowered to keep in constant touch with the international trade situation and to be able to function quickly to grant relief to industries which are threatened with serious economic . loss because of a continued flow of competitive imports.
The limited check placed upon the Executive authority in the Extension Act of 1948 was a step in the right direction. We believe that as a minimum, in the present extension now under consideration, this provision should be continued and if possible, made stronger. Surely, the United States cannot be criticized for endeavoring to protect its own economy nor will the world benefit if it fails to do so. The sudden change in the export and import situation to which I have referred may be well illustrated in our own industry. The imports of canned beef, including corned beef for the calendar year 1948 exceeded 129,000,000 pounds, far the heaviest importation of such product in our history. These imports were particularly heavy during the period from August to November, inclusive. In that 5 months' period well over 50 percent of the total for the year came in. This would be the equivalent of about 650,000 cattle.
The Canadian ban against exports to the United States was raised on August 16, 1948. From that time until December 31, the Canadians reported exports of 84,735,009 pounds of dressed beef and veal. Our Department of Agriculture converts this back to a cattle basis as representing about 180,000 head. The Canadian exports of beef cattle to this country for the same period were 214,380 head. The exports of calves for the same period were 23,869 head. These figures do not include cattle of the dairy type or purebreds intended for breeding purposes. All together, dressed beef and veal—as converted-cattle and calves, the total export by Canada for the period shown amounts to approximately 445,000 head. The quota provisions of the Canadian trade agreement are in suspension because the President has not yet declared the war emergency to be at an end. Had these provisions been in effect they would have insured better distribution of the imports which would have been for the benefit of both the Canadian cattle producers and the American cattle producers. It seems entirely unreasonable that no matter what main reason for the continuation of the extraordinary powers granted the President, these quotas should longer remain in suspension.
There are many signs that we are approaching a critical period in the economy of this country. Production of agricultural products and many manufactured products are increasing throughout the world. We believe a grave responsibility rests upon the Congress of the United States today to take such action as will adequately protect American industry, labor, and agriculture, and we urge that this be your first consideration in framing the Extension Act. Any further gains in international trade should not be at the expense of American producers, especially those whose production is adequate to the domestic needs of this country. No useful purpose is served by encouraging imports that will injure one domestic industry in order to benefit some other domestic industry engaged in export trade.
For the reasons above stated we strongly urge that the restrictive provision on the Executive authority contained in the present act be continued and made stronger to give assurance that the interests of American agriculture and industry will be fully protected. It has been stated that this provision will hamper the President in negotiating trade agreements in the future. That cannot be possible except in cases where the negotiations of such trade agreements would be harmful to American producers. We insist that from now on the interests of American producers should be paramount and that the foreign trade of this country cannot rest upon a solid foundation unless that principle is the first consideration of the framers of our tariff policy.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few observations. It will not take very long.
The CHAIRMAN. It will not? Well, I was going to suggest that maybe we had better either come back this afternoon and hear you, or bring you on in the morning. But if your observations will not be very long, that will be all right.
Mr. MOLLIX. I don't think it will take over 10 or 15 minutes.
Senator BREWSTER. You are not planning to go on, then, this afternoon, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. No.
Mr. MOLLIN. I would rather finish, then, now. I am going home tomorrow.
The statement that I have put in the record, Mr. Chairman, shows the historic position of our association with regard to the tariff and the reciprocal-trade program in general.
A few observations I want to make deal somewhat with the testimony that has been brought out this morning, which leaves some questions in my mind.
. One thing has been stressed, is that we must increase the imports into this country. It strikes me that inasmuch as during the last few years we have had the greatest national income of all time, with tremendous consumption of not only agricultural products, and food of all kinds, but of other products, it is a mystery to me how we are going to go about it to make this tremendous increase in imports that we hear about. It sounds all right, but when you get right down to the reality of it, it doesn't seem to me that it is very practicable.
In my statement I call attention to the substantial increase in importations of cattle, canned beef, dressed beef, and veal, in the year 1948, and particularly in the last 6 months of that period. Reduced to a live-animal basis, they would have exceeded 1,000,000 head of cattle.
Senator MILLIKIN. Within the last 6 months, you say?
Mr. MOLLIN. In the full year, but about 900,000 head of cattle (and products connected to cattle basis) within the last 6 months, because the Canadian imports did not start to come until the 16th day of August.
I want to call attention to the fact that coincident with that big increase of importation in the last 6 months, we have had the most drastic decline in the price of cattle that has ever occurred in this country. Just to give you a couple of examples: Choice steers in Chicago for the week of August 23 averaged $39.90 per hundred. For the week of February 12, 1949, they averaged $24.75 per hundred. That is a decline of $15.50 per hundred.
Good steers had almost the same decline. For the week of August 23, 1948, the price was $35.55, Chicago. For the week of February 12, 1949, the price was $21.65. The decline in cows was not as great as in steers.
Now, I don't mean to say that this decline in price is entirely due to importations from Canada and Argentina, but I am sure you would agree that you could not import into this country in a period of less than 6 months right during the period of our heaviest marketing in this country, the equivalent of 900,000 head of cattle, without substantially affecting the market in this country. The feeders in the Corn Belt today, and in the irrigated sections of our State, Senator Millikin, are losing from $50 to $100 per head, and in some cases more than that. It is the most severe decline that the feeders of this country have ever been forced to take.
When Mr. Ogg was on the stand, you were discussing quotas. And as I understood him, there are certain quotas in effect. I would appreciate it if the committee would inquire of the Tariff Commission, then, as to why the quotas on cattle in the Canadian trade agreement are in suspension.
There are quotas in the Canadian trade agreement. I have had correspondence with the Foreign Division of Agriculture, and they have told me that those quotas are in suspension and will remain in suspension until the President declares the war emergency to be at an end.