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Baker Voices Frustration With U.S. Trade Partners

October 01, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III voiced frustration today over the continued refusal of America's trading partners, particularly West Germany and Japan, to do more to spur their economies.

But the Reagan Administration's prescription for economic well-being drew a chilly reception from German Finance Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg, who claimed that "artificial stimulation" could lead to another economic crisis.

Addressing the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, Baker reiterated the Administration's contention, voiced to the same audience Tuesday by President Reagan, that more open markets and increased growth abroad are needed to extinguish protectionist fires at home.

"Our commitment to free but fair international trade should not be underestimated, but neither should the forces of protectionism," Baker said.

Major trading partners have thus far rebuffed Baker's efforts to persuade them to act in concert to lower interest rates and to take steps to stabilize exchange rates in an effort to help ease huge U.S. trade deficits.

"This dissonance is to be expected," Baker said. "Indeed, it is a sign of any pluralistic governing process."

However, in clear references to Japan and West Germany, Baker said nations running a trade surplus with the United States "must spur domestic demand to grow faster than (their) GNP (gross national product)."

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