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Chairman: H. Potchtar_Toscany Imports, Ltd.
TEXTILE AND APPAREL
Chairman: C. Brambilla.
The CHAIRMAN. That concludes the morning session. This committee will resume its sessions on Monday morning at 10 a.m.
[At 11:45 a.m. the hearing recessed until Monday, April 1, 1974, at 10 a.m.]
TRADE REFORM ACT OF 1973
MONDAY, APRIL 1, 1974
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 A.M., in room 2221, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Herman Talmadge, presiding.
Present: Senators Talmadge, Hartke, Byrd, Jr., of Virginia, Bennett, Dole, and Packwood.
Senator TALMADGE. The committee will please come to order.
This morning we resume our hearings on H.R. 10710, the Trade Reform Act. We have a long list of witnesses today, and each witness has been asked to confine his remarks to no longer than a 10-minute summary of the written statement. The 5-minute rule will be in effect for the questioning period.
Inasmuch as Senator Hartke has not yet arrived and the distinguished Congressman from Florida is here, will you proceed, Congressman Gibbons?
We are delighted to have you appear before our committee.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. SAM M. GIBBONS, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE SEVENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you. It is a pleasure to be here.
I am reminded of the fact that today is the first day of April, but I do not wish to be classed as an April fool or a May, June, or July fool, or any kind of fool for that matter.
Senator TALMADGE. Let the record show that the Finance Committee takes judicial notice of the fact that you do not come in that category, Congressman.
Mr. ĜIBBONS. And I am going to try to be very conservative in the statements that I make and merely urge this committee to move very rapidly in developing a trade bill, Senator Talmadge. I think that now is the time to move forward on the trade bill.
It has been 12 years since we passed any kind of trade bill. Since 1967, our Government has been semiparalyzed without any effective trade bill.
The House-passed bill is a good bill. Like all other pieces of legislation, it is a compromise. It could stand some improving, and I am sure it will have some improving over here in your committee. And then it will go to conference, and whatever happens then is, of course, up to the gods. Not being one of those conferees, I am very respectful of the acts
that come from the conference, and I realize that there the art of compromise has to be exercised very judiciously.
The trade legislation that was finally developed by the House is the product of 5 months of intensive debate within the Ways and Means Committee, debate not only between witnesses before the committee but by the members of the committee. It took about 342 months of debate within the committee as we developed this legislation. It was one of the most arduously developed pieces of legislation that I have had the privilege to participate in forming in the 5 years that I have been on the committee, and I was surprised that it passed the committee by a vote of 20 to 5.
It was a surprise, I think, to most of the members of the committee and to the House itself that there was as much unanimity about the bill as we finally developed. The bill passed the House, of course, with only one amendment and by a very substantial margin.
The House-passed bill is a great improvement over the existing law because it provides great flexibility as well as strength to our negotiators. And it sets forth a number of procedural safeguards for the process of developing future attempts to bargain in the international field. Not only is prior consultation required to a greater extent than ever before with industry and with consumers in this country, but also required is a kind of post-bargaining consultation or referral back to the Congress, to the House and to the Senate, of many of the decisions that will be made in this bargaining process.
Also, I think the trade bill takes fuller advantage of the uniqueness of the U.S. system of Government where, as contrasted with the parliamentary system of Government, the Congress is an equal partner in the process of making trade decisions. This can be used to our own advantage.
Now, I think most people, on whatever side they are on this issue, think that this is the time to move forward. There are so many problems facing our country and the world that we cannot afford to sit back and neglect the opportunity or the challenge to move forward on trade negotiations. I am referring to the energy shortage that we have had, the food shortages and other short falls that we are having, the worldwide inflation that we are having, and now is absolutely the time that the free nations in this world must work together cooperatively for the solution of our mutual problems.
Far too much attention has been given, in my opinion, in this whole debate to the problem of the most favored nation treatment of the Russian bloc nations and of the Export-Import Bank lending authority for these nations. This bill that you are considering is primarily an attempt to build a pact among the free nations of the world so that these free nations can strengthen themselves and can strengthen the fabric of freedom around the world. That is what this bill is all about. We are trying to strengthen the U.S. economy, the U.S. political system, and the free world economy and political system,
It is unfortunate that title IV was ever combined with this bill. It should not be the stumbling block of this bill. Any trade that we ever
hope to develop with the Russian bloc countries, the nonmarket countries, is going to be minimal. Primarily, we are likely to find ourselves importing from these countries raw products and semifinished products for which we have no other source of supply. I cannot foresee the time when we will ever be importing from them large amounts of consumer items, nor can I foresee a time at which they will be importing from us large amounts of consumer goods.
As I say, it was an unhappy marriage that put these two subject matters together--trade negotiations and our economic relations with the Soviet bloc. This is certainly one piece of legislation where we ought not to stumble over the problem of our relations with the Soviet bloc, because the whole thrust of this legislation is to help us in the United States and to help the rest of the free world to develop a stronger climate economically and politically--and not to try to solve all of the problems of East-West tension and detente and all of that.
I hope that America has recognized-I believe it has—that we cannot go it alone, that we live in an interdependent world. I try to point all of this out in the many pages of my statement here. I also try to point out why I think that now is the time to start to bargain on solving our trade problems.
As I said at the beginning of my testimony, I realize that today is April fool's day, and I do not come here proposing that everything is well in America and that we are omnipotent in the area of trade. Certainly we have our problems. But the American economy is strong. We have been infected by inflation, but this is a virus that has infected the whole world. And I think it is a virus that we can overcome and are overcoming.
Our economy is strong. We are in a mini-recession now, but I think it is like the bad weather we've been having. It is not going to last all week, all month, or all year. It is eventually going to go away, and the American economy is going to rebound. There are already plenty of signposts that our economy is rebounding strongly.
The energy shortage that has affected us-and no one knows how long it will last, but certainly it has not been nearly as bad as the dire predictions we faced last October and November-has affected us less and will affect us less than all of the other industrial nations of the world, and certainly a great deal less than it is affecting the lesser developed countries of the world.
We have partially solved the international monetary problem amongst the free nations of the world. We have not had a monetary crisis in two years. The dollar is strong. It is relatively stable. It is gaining strength all the time. Those of you who have had the opportunity to travel in other parts of the world know that the dollar is back in demand all over the world. It is as strong as any other currency in the world and is gaining strength daily. We have done what I think, will in the long-run turnout to be a very effective thing, reducing the value of the dollar with regard to its purchasing power overseas. I think this is one of the strong reasons why we are being as successful as we are now in our export trade. Also, we are beginning to tame our appetites for imports because of devaluation.
I think that the overvalued dollar, the long overvalued dollar, was the primary reason that the American businessman went overseas and established plants over there, and that we lost jobs to overseas plants.
Senator, I have heard the bell ring, and I know that my time has expired.
Senator TALMADGE. You in the House are accustomed to being called down on short notice. We in the Senate are not, as a general rule, but in view of the multiplicity of witnesses that wanted to be heard on this, we had to invoke by unanimous consent the limitation of time.
Mr. GIBBONS. I certainly understand your time problems, and I want to close by saying that now is the time to move forward on trade. It has been 12 years since we had a trade bill, but this is a good trade bill, and I know that the Senate will have a great many contributions to make to it.
Thank you, sir.
Senator TALMADGE. Thank you very much, Congressman. We are honored to have you with us.
[The prepared statement of Congressman Gibbons follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT BY HON. SAM M. GIBBONS, A U.S. REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
I. Now is the time to move forward on trade
A. It is important to maintain the momentum toward a new round of trade negotiations by enacting a good trade bill as soon as possible. These negotiations, by further reducing barriers to world trade, will be of great benefit to the United States both economically and politically. They will also help to improve the climate for cooperative multilateral solutions to other world-wide economic problems. The need for such cooperative action has been made even more urgent by developments such as the actions of the OPEC supply cartel, food and energy shortfalls, rampant world inflation, and the danger of resurgent nationalism. Indeed, the world watches to see whether the United States is going to reassume our leadership in this area.
B. The United States has everything to gain from a new round of trade negotiations. Demand for U.S. exports is high and rising. The elimination of barriers to these exports would benefit us greatly. Also, we are dependent on trade for some of the raw materials we need. We can negotiate now from a position of strength. We have a strong economy and a strong dollar. We have been less affected by the four-fold increase in world crude oil prices in the past year than other nations. II. The Trade Reform Act is a good bill
A. It grants to our able negotiators the strength and flexibility they need to negotiate mutually beneficial trade agreements. Yet it reasserts the power of Congress "to regulate foreign commerce.” It provides for a great many procedural safeguards and consultation requirements to insure that U.S. workers, industries, farmers and consumers are helped rather than hurt by trade decisions. It makes relief from unreasonable import competition easier and quicker to get and more generous. It is an improvement both over present law and over the Administration's original proposal.
B. The trade bill is aimed basically at helping the countries of the free world solve their trade problems and strengthen their economies. We should not