Clinton's TroublesNotwithstanding the passage of the North...


May 24, 1994

Clinton's Troubles

Notwithstanding the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the recent favorable conclusion to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations, it appears the president's trade problems haven't diminished.

The administration's heavy-handed approach to Japan's trade imbalance, exacerbated by Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen's statement of non-support for the dollar vis-a-vis the yen, has created turmoil in international financial markets.

Recognizing this fact, and aware of Japan's internal political problems, the president once again reversed field and, along with our other major trading partners, intervened to support the dollar.

Mr. Clinton also faces a replay of the NAFTA battle to get Congress to accept the GATT package. Its failure would once again indicate to the world that we are turning our backs to the realities of a global economy.

Even more immediate however, is the question of most favored nation treatment of China.

This issue has given rise to the usual political posturing on both sides of the aisle. Today, MFN is not what its name implies. It is the normal way we do business with almost every country in the world, including even Libya and Iran.

Only our bitterest political enemies pay the full 1930 tariff rate; it's only a matter of time before Vietnam receives MFN treatment. Withholding MFN from China is a shortsighted and dangerous foreign policy.

The president and his trade representative have many other tools to address China's violations of human rights and to combat its perceived unfair trade practices.

These other options could prove far more effective in bringing about reforms in China than shutting the door to Chinese products.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Rufus Yerxa said recently, "Economic sanctions have only worked well in situations where the entire world community is united on it."

It's been estimated that China's loss of MFN could cost American consumers $10 billion. Certainly the Japanese and the Europeans would fill the void, and we could find ourselves excluded from the Asian economy for decades to come.

However, if we act wisely, China could well serve as a bulwark against the belligerency of North Korea and could help stabilize East Asia.

M. Sigmund Shapiro


No Quotas

I was glad to see that the article concerning minority quotas at NBC was relegated to page 23A of the May 15 issue of The Sun. When is Jesse Jackson going to get off the quota kick?

In my opinion, any quota system is unfair. If we use Mr. Jackson's logic, we should replace some of the National Basketball Association's black athletes with American Indians or Asians. What nonsense!

In high schools, colleges and professional sports, the best man makes the team, and that's the way it should be in all endeavors. Don't tell me I must go to a quota doctor or a quota lawyer. Give me a Dr. Ben Carson, who made it to the top on his own efforts and ability.

If one accepts the Jackson logic, then one would have to wonder conversely why no complaints have been filed against Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson, who has fielded mostly black teams for nearly 20 years.

This could apply to white coaches all over the country as well. These men choose the most promising athletes for their teams. This is their right. You can bet they don't want to see any quota system, nor do I.

Frankly, I think it's time for Jesse Jackson to get on the ball. I believe he could improve his logic by listening to Baltimore radio's Alan Keyes.

William G. Huppert

Perry Hall

Candidate Replies

Bill Duck's May 20 letter to the editor crystallizes what my campaign for governor is all about: reducing the size and cost of state government.

The writer criticizes my opposition to spending taxpayers' money on a baseball stadium in Salisbury. What he fails to understand is that my position has nothing to do with baseball in Salisbury -- and everything to do with responsible fiscal policy.

The next governor faces a structural deficit of over a billion dollars during the course of her term.

What's more, nearly 100,000 additional children will flood Maryland's school systems between now and the turn of the century, creating a pressing demand for more classroom space.

And more jail cells will be needed if we are serious about slamming shut the revolving door that allows violent criminals to roam our communities.

Without a doubt, a baseball stadium would enhance the quality of life in a community.

But it is not the role of state government to build the capital facilities for a private business. The state does not build a new plant for Purdue farms, nor does it build a showroom for Wal-Mart.

That's why I voted against spending tax dollars to build two stadiums in Baltimore. That's why I voted against spending tax dollars to build a stadium in Bowie and a new sports arena for Abe Pollin.

And that's why I cheered the news that Jack Kent Cooke wanted to build a Redskins stadium with his own money.

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