IN passing a new measure imposing stringent restrictions on textile and leather shoe imports, the Senate is sending a clear message to the Reagan administration that it wants action to protect these troubled American industries. The Senate measure must now be reconciled with a somewhat similar bill passed by the House, although the House measure does not deal with footwear. Congress is correct in seeking steps to protect troubled United States industries such as textiles. Unfortunately, protectionist curbs constitute the wrong approach. President Reagan should carefully consider vetoing the measure.
Mr. Reagan should instead follow through on announced plans to penalize nations that restrict entry of US goods. US industries, meanwhile, need to be more aggressive in lowering production costs and marketing their products. Also, market sharing or other bilateral arrangements can be worked out. But protectionist curbs invite retaliation, thus working against an expansion of global commerce in general and US exports in particular.