Informal Exchange With Reporters on Japan-United States Semiconductor Trade

June 8, 1987

Q. Mr. President, can you tell us why you're being more sensitive to Japanese interests than American interests with the lifting of the sanctions?

The President. Andrea [Andrea Mitchell, NBC News], normally, I'm not taking questions on anything, but that question has to be answered. We're not doing something that is more -- we said from the very beginning that when they returned to abiding by the agreement that we thought we had, we would lift the sanctions. Well, they have started. And the amount of tariff that we have removed is just proportionate to the extent that they have so far returned to abiding by the agreement. And if they don't, if they go back the other way, we will again put the penalty on full, but if they continue, why, we proportionately will lift the tariffs.

Q. But, sir, both Senators Dole and Byrd, for instance, have argued that they shouldn't be lifted. There's a lot of feeling in Congress that this will lead to more rebellion in Congress on protectionism.

The President. Well, we were aware of that. We were aware that they might feel that way -- those, particularly, with the protectionist bent. But at the same time, we wanted to show that we really meant it, that those sanctions were put on for a particular reason. And we have to recognize that there are people in Japan, like Prime Minister Nakasone, who have worked very hard to oppose the action that they had taken, and we think that they ought to be rewarded for their effort.

Note: The exchange began at 6:48 p.m. at Palazzo Ducale, prior to a meeting with Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani, in Venice, Italy.