Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole warned President Reagan today that Congress will pass protectionist legislation soon unless steps are taken to open up foreign markets to U.S. products.
“There is lots of sentiment to do something,” the Kansas senator told reporters after he and other congressional leaders received a report from the President on the recent economic summit in Bonn.
“If the French proceed to drag their feet on trade talks, it will come sooner than later,” Dole said, adding that he expressed similar sentiments to the President in the meeting.
The nations at the economic summit agreed to have trade talks as soon as possible, but France resisted setting a 1986 date.
Congressional leaders at the meeting said it was dominated by trade issues. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the discussions dealt mainly with “the unfairness of the closed markets in the rest of the world.”
Sen. Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, the Senate GOP whip, said the leaders told the President that Congress will pass protectionist legislation unless markets are opened up, and added, “We don’t want to go that way; we would just hurt ourselves if we went that way.”
Dole said Reagan told the lawmakers that he thinks there will be “a breakthrough soon” in access to Japanese markets. Simpson said, “The Japanese are doing all they can.”