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Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill Relating to the Marking of Imported Articles.

December 31, 1963

I AM withholding my approval from H.R. 2513, a bill to require, with respect to every imported article removed from its container and repackaged, that the new package be marked with the name of the country of origin if, under present law, the original container must be so marked, with failure to do so subjecting the repackager--regardless of whether he is the importer, the distributor, the retailer, or any other handler of the merchandise--to fine, imprisonment, and seizure and forfeiture of the article. Such a bill was vetoed by President Eisenhower in 1961. A second provision of the bill would require that all sawed lumber and wood products be marked with the country of origin, a provision which specifically violates our long standing trade agreement with Canada.

This bill would raise new barriers to foreign trade and invite retaliation against our exports at a time when we are trying to expand our trade and improve Western unity.

This bill would impose new costs upon our merchants and consumers at a time when we are trying to keep all costs and prices down.

This bill would saddle new and unworkable burdens upon our Bureau of Customs at a time when we are trying to reduce Government expenditures.

This bill would encourage new price increases in lumber and homebuilding at a time when we are trying to expand our housing opportunities.

This bill would aggravate our relations with Canada at a time when we are trying to improve those relations at every level.

There is no need for this bill. The Federal Trade Commission already has authority to require disclosure of the foreign origin of articles offered for sale where there may be danger of deception of the purchaser. The Federal Tariff Commission already has authority to protect domestic industries against serious economic injury resulting from imports. A unanimous Commission decision last February, in fact, found that the facts did not entitle the soft wood lumber industry to such protection.

Approval of this bill, in short, is clearly not in the best interests of all the United States.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON

Note: The memorandum was released at Austin, Tex. For President Eisenhower's veto of a similar bill see 1960-61 volume, this series, Item 285.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill Relating to the Marking of Imported Articles. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241328

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