Labor not totally happy with Reagan trade plans
Bal Harbour, Fla. — The Reagan administration plans broad policies to aid US industries, according to Bill Brock, the President's special trade representative. His assurances have eased -- but not fully allayed -- the labor movement's concerns about inroads being made by foreign- built automobiles and other products on the American market.
Mr. Brock told the AFL-CIO executive council meeting here that the administration expects to announce within the next few weeks short-term plans to assist the troubled auto and textile industries.
Later, he indicated, there will be longer-term programs offering help for other industries suffering from the impact of imported goods produced at lower costs abroad, frequently under government subsidy.
Brock also met with Douglas Fraser, president of the independent United Automobile Workers (UAW), and assured him that the administration recognizes that a priority must be given to support for the auto industry. He did not rule out limits on imports, not only of automobiles and trucks but also of other products that are costing jobs of US workers.
But the administration favors negotiated trade agreements with Japan and other countries rather than legislation that would set quotas on imports. This is a point on which the AFL-CIO and the UAW disagree with the administration. Both labor groups believe it will be necessary to reinforce negotiations with broad-based legislation that would restrict imports.
AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland said he told Brock that import restraints are vital to the defense of the auto and other industries in this country.
On textiles, AFL-CIO wants the renegotiations of existing agreements to assure "orderly sharing of textile and apparel market growth within the US by imports and domestic production." It also wants tighter shoe imports, which now exceed 50 percent of the US market.