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as a citizen. It is also important to me as a business executive wiiose company depends on export sales for more than 10 percent of its total business.
Our product, in its full-blown simplicity, is bubble gum. I harbor no pretensions—and I make none—that bubble gum is one of the essentials of a richer life in our own market or in the markets to which we export. It is, however, one of the huge numbers of nonessentials that go into making up the frosting on the cake of our standard of living. More and more luxury goods for more and more people who can afford to pay for them and who seek an everexpanding variety of goods from which to choose—this is the dynamic American economy at work.
I submit that, to the extent that foreign purchasing power and dollar reserves permit rising purchases of bubble gum from the United States, such increases will reflect increments in economic vitality and political stability of great value to us all.
An expanding volume of foreign trade, to which a policy of freer trade has contributed so much for the past quarter century, has been good business for the American economy. Increased foreign trade is good for the other nations of the world; it means business, jobs, and more and better goods—the luxury kind as well as the essentials—available to the consumer.
A sustained increase in the flow of nonessential consumer goods across national borders signifies and contributes to healthier economic conditions in the buying nations, and it means happier consumers. A happy consuming public is an indispensable ingredient to economic strength and political stability. Countries that enjoy both are the best kind of allies in an alliance confronted by the dangers of aggression and subversion. American-produced luxury goods are highly desired by consumers all over the world, but the ability of foreign nations to allocate dollars to pay for the quantities of luxury goods their importers wish to order is greatly restricted. The limitations that the realities of the foreign exchange situation have placed on currency convertibility have thus seriously restricted the convertibility of consumer desires into dollar purchases.
This already has impact on my company. At the present level of tariffs in foreign countries, where ever-increasing local production of lower priced competitive products is evident, we are attempting to sustain and increase our export sales purely on the basis of higher quality and better merchandising methods. The price of our product to the ultimate consumer abroad is rigidly confined to the specific coinage involved. Increased tariff costs abroad, therefore, could not be passed on to the consumer and we would be forced completely out of many foreign markets. There is a maximum acceptable price, even on quality products, if appreciable sales volume is to be maintained and increased.
In the recent past, it was only the active pursuance of the positive reciprocal trade agreements features, supported by the facilities offered by mutual agreements under GATT, that we, and other American manufacturers, were able to persuade a tariff commission in western Europe not to heed representations by local manufacturers of competitive products to have prohibitive tariffs levied against imported products of the type we make.
A foreign trade policy on the part of the United States that promotes United States import trade—the major source of dollars available to the rest of the world—will foster an expansion of our export trade, which is so important to so many American industries. A steady improvement in the world's dollar position will lead to an increased flow of luxury goods from this country—the kinds desired by adults and the kinds desired by children. This is good business for our own producers, with good economic and political implications for the consuming countries. The result all around?—a spur to economic wellbeing and national security for all concerned.
When more foreign nations can afford to allocate more dollars to pay for more bubble gum from America, that will of course mean more business for my small company. Because it would mean much more is the principal reason for my addressing this statement to the Committee on Finance. It would mean closer ties between American people and the consuming public abroad. It would mean stronger, more dependable allies for the United States. It would signify rapidly rising standards of living, meaning enhanced market potential for American exports of all kinds.
Freer international trade tends to foster that kind of world. It is an indispensable force in reducing the import and exchange controls that in many parts of the world still pose serious barriers to the freer flow of goods in international commerce. Without a policy of freer trade, we stand no chance of protecting the great stake we have in exports in western Europe, for we would not have at our disposal the negotiating authority we must have to achieve a lowering of external tariffs of custom unions like the European Common Market. A 5-year extension is essential to meet that problem with businesslike effectiveness.
A 5-year extension is essential for another reason. Ours should be a foreigntrade policy in whose dependability our own Importers and exporters and those of other nations can have confidence—the kind of confidence necessary to stimulate investment in trade promotion without the fear that success in the expansion of trade will be penalized by new restrictions enacted into legislation at the next short-term renewal of the Trade Agreements Act. We rightly express our concern over the lack of a suitable climate for United States private investment in many parts of the world. We should not tarnish our own record in this respect by penalizing the success of those who invest capital—trade promotion capital—in our own country.
As a bubble-gum manufacturer, I can quite properly urge the Senate to eschewany and all efforts to foist restrictive trade policies and any form of economic isolationism on the American people. I can properly urge the Senate to enact legislation which prevents the machinery of the international exchange of pxids and services from becoming stuck with restrictions that hurt the consumers of all nations. And I can properly say, as I did before the House Ways and Means Committee, that I do not want to see our professions of belief in free-world unity, our announced support of democratic institutions everywhere, and our proclaimed devotion to the rising of living standards throughout the community of free nations become just a huge bubble, easily burst by the dangerous consequences of a policy of trade restriction.
I believe that the national interest demands your support of H. R. 12591 if we are to move confidently toward the goals I have sought to define. Very truly yours,
Gilbert B. Mustin, Jr.,
Executive Vice President.
Norwalk, Conn., June 5, 1958. Hon. Harry Flood Byrd,
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee,
Washington, D. C:
As a resident of Westport and manufacturer of Norwalk, both in the Fourth Congressional District of Connecticut and a citizen of the United States of America, I ask the committee to stimulate international trade and develop a favorable foreign-trade policy by supporting the reciprocal trade agreements program bills, H. R. 10368 and H. It. 10369, and make this appeal part of your record.
Harold W. Kephart, Paperboard Laminating Corp.
(Whereupon, at 1: 35 p. m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 10: 05 a. m., Friday, June 27,1958.)
COMMITTEE ON FINANOfe
H. R. 12591
AN ACT TO EXTEND THE AUTHORITY OF THE PRESIDENT
TO ENTER INTO TRADE AGREEMENTS UNDER SECTION
350 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1930, AS AMENDED, AND FOR