Rising Protectionism

April 5, 1961

Report Outline
Pressure for Protection Against Imports
President, Congress and Trade Policy
Safeguards for Industry; Aid Proposals

Pressure for Protection Against Imports

Growing or threatened penetration of United States markets by products of Japanese manufacture is bringing sharp outcries from representatives of managers and workers in the affected domestic industries and from advocates of generally increased protection for American producers. Insistent demands for government action to relieve fears of rising competition from Europe as well as the Far East raise possibly the most serious threat to liberal United States trade policies since the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act became law in 1934. The current deficit in the country's balance of international payments and the current business slump add to pressures on the administration and Congress to impose new import restrictions.

Some labor unions have indicated that they will seek to generate more pressure by staging boycotts of competitive foreign products that threaten jobs of their members. Until persuaded by Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges to hold off for 90 days, the 23,000 members of a Chicago local of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers were planning to refuse to work after May 1 on electronic components and parts imported from Japan for use in manufacture of television and radio sets and other equipment. The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America is still threatening to stop cutting Japanese fabrics after that date.

Concern Over Labor Boycotting of Foreign Goods

President Kennedy said at his March 8 news conference that he was hopeful the threatened boycotts would not spread. He pointed out that Congress had set up procedures by which industries hard hit by foreign competition could appeal for relief, and that Congress would have an opportunity to consider the whole matter when the Trade Agreements Act comes up for renewal next year. He said:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Exports and Imports
Import Quotas and Customs
Outsourcing and Immigration