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Protectionist Trade Measures

May 13, 1987

The passage by the House of the Gephardt amendment to the trade bill emphasizes the fact that each succeeding generation forgets what its predecessors have learned. Although the restrictions were in a different form, there is no dispute that the Smoot-Hawley tariff was responsible for the worsening of the Great Depression.

Time and again in this country, restrictions on imports have not only increased costs of the restricted items to the American public but have also encouraged American producers not to make any real effort to be competitive.

The Gephardt amendment is particularly vicious because it affects products from countries that refuse to curb their "excess and unwarranted" trade surpluses. What do the words "excess and unwarranted" really mean?

I strongly support import restrictions against products that are being "dumped," according to the provisions of the Anti-Dumping Act, but the Gephardt amendment takes no notice of these provisions.

In the past this country has proven that it can compete in world markets if it really tries to, but, unfortunately, most producers are only interested in protecting their home market and the more government assistance they receive, the easier they will accomplish this. As far as world markets are concerned, the great majority of American producers have no interest in engaging in this trade.

EDWIN A. ELBERT

Marina del Rey

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