WASHINGTON — Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.), part of a congressional delegation just back from a trip to four Far Eastern nations, said Monday that the group warned the countries they should allow free trade or pay a stiff price.
"It was very blunt, very frank," said Vander Jagt of the talks.
Vander Jagt, one of 13 House members who returned Sunday from a 12-day trade mission to Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, said the group's message was clear that trade legislation was inevitable, but that "just how restrictive it is will be determined by your action."
"The message really got through, I think stronger than every before, that they've got to do far better than they are on trade," Vander Jagt said. "They got the message loud and clear that they better do it fast."
Vander Jagt said he expected the nations to act quickly to try and minimize protectionist legislation.
He said, for example, he thought the congressional delegation may have been instrumental in Japan's agreement last week to roll back exports of machine tools to the United States. He also said he hoped that the delegation's efforts could lead to better prospects for U.S. tobacco sales in the Far East and cut down on Japanese theft of U.S. satellite-transmitted movies.
"I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that they will move," he said of the nations.