Memorandum on the Denial of Import Relief for the Copper Industry

September 6, 1984

Memorandum for the United States Trade Representative

Subject: Copper Import Relief Determination

Pursuant to Section 202(b)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974 (P.L. 93 - 618), I have determined the action I will take with respect to the report of the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), transmitted to me on July 16 concerning the results of its investigation, on the merits of providing import relief to the copper industry.

In view of all relevant aspects of this case, I have determined that granting import relief is not consistent with our national economic interest. The imposition of import restrictions -- either in the form of quotas, tariffs, or orderly marketing agreements -- would create a differential between U.S. and world copper prices. Consequently, it would seriously disadvantage the copper-fabricating industry in the United States, which employed an estimated 106,000 workers in 1983, vis-a-vis foreign competitors. Such a result would, over time, shrink domestic demand for copper and add to the serioius problems faced by U.S. copper producers.

Import relief would also adversely affect the export earnings of the foreign copper-producing countries, many of which are heavily indebted and highly dependent on copper exports. It would, therefore, complicate our efforts to maintain the stability of the international financial system and lessen the ability of foreign countries to import goods from the United States. Finally, there are encouraging signs that the economic recovery is beginning to have a favorable effect on world copper prices; stocks have fallen considerably this year and a significant price increase is expected in the near future. The denial of import relief on copper should act as a signal and as encouragement to our partners around the world to resist protectionist acts and, thus, will foster that recovery.

In order to help ease the difficult problems now faced by many workers in the U.S. copper industry, I have directed the Secretary of Labor to work with State and local officials to develop a plan of job retraining and relocation assistance for workers in affected industries. In addition, I have directed the Secretary of Commerce to actively monitor the domestic copper industry including inventories and the levels of copper imports.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:45 p.m., September 7, 1984]

Note: The memorandum is printed in the Federal Register of September 11.