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Letter to Congressional Leaders on Textile, Apparel, and Footwear Trade Legislation

September 17, 1990

Dear Tom: (Dear Bob:)

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the textile, apparel, and footwear quota bill (H.R. 4328) which the House is scheduled to consider tomorrow. The bill is a threat to the stability of the world trading system and is completely contrary to the economic, commercial, and political interests of the United States. If the bill passes, I will veto it.

This legislation would seriously restrict textile and footwear imports and violate international trade rules. It represents the worst form of economic policy for America, one based upon the mistaken belief that less trade throughout the world will somehow save American jobs and enhance our prosperity. In reality, the bill would cause slower growth, result in fewer jobs, and create far higher costs for all American consumers. We are enjoying the greatest export boom in our history. This bill will place at risk our $400 billion in exports and the millions of American jobs that depend on world trade.

Ironically, this vote comes at a time when the world is adopting the American model of free enterprise, open markets, and greater competition. It would send the wrong message to retreat now from the world economy and build protectionist walls just when the reform governments of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia need our leadership in forging a more open international economy.

Furthermore, this legislation would close the U.S. market to countries that, despite economic hardship for them, have stood firm with us against Saddam Hussein's brutal aggression. Passage of the textile and footwear quota bill would violate 38 agreements, including agreements with Turkey and Egypt, countries indispensable to our efforts to forge an historic alliance to resist Saddam's aggression against Kuwait.

A vote in the House tomorrow approving the textile and footwear quota bill would be a negative statement about Congress' vision for our economic future and about the value of America's word in international relations.

I urge your support in defeating this damaging piece of legislation.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Robert H. Michel, Republican leader of the House of Representatives.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Textile, Apparel, and Footwear Trade Legislation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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