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$3 billion worth last year of our exported products. They are in t process of forming a new economic grouping.
During the next 12 to 15 years, the European Economic Commun will gradually eliminate all duties on its internal trade, and ¥ gradually adopt a common customs tariff to the outside world, eluding the United States.
With this economic unification should come faster economic grow and consequently enlarged opportunities in the European market our traders and investors. The extent to which we can benefit fr< these enlarged opportunities will, however, depend upon the tai rates ultimately adopted by the European Economic Community
The Community stands ready to adjust individual rates in reti for reciprocal concessions by its trading partners.
To my mind, it is extremely desirable for the President to have thority in this field which will enable us to maintain and expand export markets in this vitally important area. It is not in the int ests of this country that we allow our trade to remain static while rest of the world negotiates for greater opportunity.
Why do we need authority for 5 years to negotiate suecessfn with the common market? Because it will take the European E nomic Community the next 18 months or more to work out its p posed tariff rates.
When these rates are known, we in this country will have to w out our list of possible United States concessions painstakingly a carefully, to insure that we screen out any whicn might tnfea serious injury to any United States industry. This will bring us w into 1961. Then will come the negotiations themselves, complex a involving many countries, and certain to take over a year.
If there were no difficulties or delays at any of these stages, it mi be possible to conclude negotiations bv mid-1962. We should i however, take the chance that there will be no delays.
We need a full 5 years to insure that everything we do is done a we have studied all the facts and considered their implications.
We must always bear in mind that it takes at least two to negotia Given our importance in world trade, our presence at negotiations this sort is crucial to their success. Unless our presence is guarant< by a full 5-year extension, other coimtries will not themselves unc take serious preparations.
We have been examining the bill's economic implications, but would now like to turn to the relation of this legislation to the e nomic offensive which the Soviet Union has launched against the 1 world. The evidence mounts week bv week that the Soviet Uni using combined programs of trade and aid, is attempting to incre its influence in the free world and lessen our own.
Secretary Dulles has undoubtedly described to you the thn posed by these Soviet moves, and has told you how seriously we shoi regard them. Let me say that the Soviet program, if successful, coi seriously endanger our entire way of life.
In its trade drive, Russia is paying particular attention to areas political ferment and economic distress; in particular, it is cultivati the less developed countries of the world. Hardly a month goes without new Soviet offers to one or another key country with problci and the pace of Soviet offers seem, if anj'thing, to be accelerating.
We should make a great mistake to underestimate the capacity of the Soviet bloc to state, to set forth on such an offensive or the appeal which Soviet offers may hold for other countries.
The Soviet threat in the trade field is a real and a serious one. It would be doubly serious if, while the Soviets preach and practice expanded trade, we were to retreat from our position of trade leadership and were to weaken ourselves by self-imposed restrictions on trade.
Stop trade, and the nations dependent on international exchanges will surely move away from us and toward the Communist world.
As I have often stated, we do not have to sacrifice our domestic industries in order to counter the Soviet tin-eat.
What is essential is that we make it unmistakably clear to our friends that we intend to continue to trade with them, in the full sense of the word—that we intend to buy from them as well as sell to them. It is essential that they know we intend gradually and reciprocally to work for higher levels of world trade, and that we do not intend to retreat from our progress to date in this direction.
It is this confidence of our friends in the continuity and direction of our trading policies that is crucial. If they feel they cannot depend on our good intentions, they will look elsewhere for the markets and sources of supplv they so vitally need. I know of no better way to generate or retain this confidence than the passage of the legislation under consideration.
To sum up, the reciprocal trade agreements program is one of our strongest weapons with which to counteract the Soviet trade offensive. It does not in itself provide the complete answer to Soviet economic penetration, but it is absolutely indispensable in the sense that, without it, nothing else we do is likely to be very effective.
If we do not demonstrate to the world that we support the continuing reduction of obstacles to free world trade, if our failure to take action weakens our friends to the point where they fall into economic dependence on the Soviet bloc, we will have lost a crucial battle in the epochal struggle of our times.
To sum up, let me review briefly the points I have tried to make in support of this legislation.
1. The program is a job-making and job-insuring program—today more than 4% million American workers depend upon world trade for their livelihood.
2. Our foreign trade is vital to the future of our economy. Today we are the world's greatest trading nation.
3. The program contains adequate safeguards against injury to American industry, workers, and agriculture.
4. The program is particularly important in view of common market developments in Europe and elsewhere; and
5. Failure to satisfactorily reenact the program would severely handicap us in successfully countering the Soviet economic offensive.
Debate between protectionist and free trader is nothing new in this country. The process goes back to the earliest days of the Republic.
Neither is the debate new to me. As a manufacturer I have been concerned with these matters and concerned on the protectionist side of the argument.
For a number of years I was president of the Home Market Club, which some years ago for lack of support fell into innocuous desuetude—its remnants drifting into the American Tariff League.
When I came to Washington in 1953 I was eager to see how c trade might develop under this program. It has developed si stantially, as I think has been evidenced by the charts I have broug with me today and developed under the rules of the Reciprocal Trs Agreements Act.
A Secretary of Commerce, if he is to do an honest job, must what he can to provide protection both for the company and I worker who makes products for export and the company and I worker who compete with the foreign producer.
In the light of this fact I have come to the inescapable conclusi that unless we walk a middle road in these trade matters our posti hi the world will suffer and so will our trade.
This bill attempts to walk this middle road and to give life a expression to my conviction that if either the free trader or I protectionist wins the argument they both will lose.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement.
Senator Kerb. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
I would like to ask some questions.
You and the Secretary of State have used a figure of four and a h million American jobs. How do you get that figure?
Secretary Weeks. The figure is arrived at, Mr. Chairman, estimates and studies made by the Bureau of the Census and I Department of Labor.
I believe it was in 1947, was it not, that the last accurate rundoi was made?
The projections since that date have been carried on on a sequent manner and this is the estimate of the number of people who < engaged in manufacturing goods for export, who are engaged handling imports, the service trades and those who are also engag in the first stage of manufacture of the imported raw materials.
Senator Kerb. Well, then, what percentage of them would y estimate are employed by those engaged in or whose activities t connected with imports?
Secretary Weeks. Do we have that breakdown?
We have these figures. United States employment attributable foreign trade in 1956, exports: nonagricultural workers, 2,516,0( agricultural workers, 602,000.
On the import side: in transportation and distribution, 524.0C hi the processing of imported materials, 858,000.
Senator Kerr. That total is how much?
Secretary Weeks. Four million five hundred thousand.
Senator Kerr. I would like you to put in the record the authentic tion of those figures.
Secretary Weeks. Yes, sir; we will do that.
(The Secretary of Commerce subsequently forwarded to the coi mittee for insertion in the record the following further statement a point raised by Senator Kerr:)
(The charts referred to are as follows:)