Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval the Textile Apparel and Footwear Trade Act of 1988
To the House of Representatives:
am returning without my approval H.R. 1154, the ``Textile Apparel and Footwear
Trade Act of 1988,'' a bill that would have disastrous effects on the
bill represents protectionism at its worst. The supposed benefits of the bill
would be temporary at best. Protectionism does not save jobs. Only improved
competitiveness can truly protect jobs, yet there is nothing in this bill that
would encourage domestic industries to become more competitive. At a time when
American exports are booming, the
there is no economic justification for the bill. Fibers consumed by
I vetoed an earlier version of the textile bill 3 years ago, I directed the
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to renegotiate the Multi-Fiber
Arrangement -- the multilateral agreement that sets the rules for trade in
textiles -- in order to strengthen our ability to control textile and apparel
imports. That task was accomplished on
At the same time I am sensitive to the difficulties that families and communities face because of internal restructuring in the textile, apparel, and footwear industries. This bill would not stop these trends. They are the inevitable result of a dynamic, expanding economy. The best way to help displaced workers is to retrain them for new jobs. Thanks to dislocated workers assistance, Trade Adjustment Assistance, and the Worker Readjustment Assistance Program I proposed, many services are now available for workers who must shift jobs as the economy adjusts to competitive challenges. Our goal must be to retrain and move dislocated workers into the industries of the future, not to maintain them in noncompetitive and inefficient facilities at all costs.
Our free and fair trade policies have created 17 million new jobs in the past 6 years. The percentage of the working-age population now employed is the highest in our Nation's history. Exports are running at record levels, and our manufacturing industries are stronger and more competitive than they have been in a decade. H.R. 1154 would threaten these gains by setting off a dangerous chain reaction of retaliation and counter-retaliation in the international trade system.
Three years ago I announced an aggressive, growth-oriented trade strategy aimed at opening markets currently closed to American exporters. Since then we have challenged unfair trade practices around the world and negotiated trade agreements that have created significant export opportunities for American firms. In August I signed into law the ``Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988,'' which provides additional tools for prying open closed foreign markets. And today I am approving legislation to implement the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, a historic trade pact that will create the world's largest free trade area. The protectionism of H.R. 1154 is the antithesis of the free trade principles of these two laws.
The White House,