U.S. Trade Negotiations

Free trade is in trouble on Capitol Hill (“Only Free Trade Is in America’s Interest,” editorial, Feb. 3). Buffeted by the strongest protectionist sentiment in years, Congress must be prodded to extend “fast track” so that the new Administration can conclude the GATT agreement and open new bilateral negotiations.

The job of the U.S. trade representative, which has been ably filled by Mickey Kantor, is the government’s most important economic policy position. Promoting the free flow of goods and services will create more good jobs here in America than any economic fiscal package using fiscal policy. Ambassador Kantor understands the importance of increased exports to states such as ours, where foreign trade will make up 25% of the California economy by the year 2000.

In addition to resolving brewing trade disputes, completing the GATT Uruguay Round, and implementing the North American Free Trade Agreement, I would add one more item to Kantor’s agenda: begin negotiating a U.S.-Japan free trade agreement. Ambassador Mike Mansfield made this recommendation in 1988 as a means to depoliticize our critical bilateral economic relationship. The time has come to follow his wise advice.



R-La Verne