LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

US MUST MOUNT

FREE TRADE STRATEGYIn "Breaking Out of GATT's Grip" (Opinion, Jan. 31), Rep. Richard T. Schulze, R-Pa., holds out little hope for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as the framework for truly freer and fairer international trade.

Yet, commendably, he still believes in this trade-policy objective. Rep. Schulze looks toward U.S. bilateral free trade agreements as "building blocks upon which a more liberalized multilateral system could be constructed." He urges such pacts with Mexico, Canada and Mexico jointly, and separately with Taiwan.

But other countries surely would be interested in free trade agreements with the United States. And some would not take kindly to being shunted aside for later consideration. In any event, the various bilateral pacts could well become, not building blocks for rapid development of a freer multilateral trading system, but the foci of new protectionist configurations obstructing progress toward such a trading system.

Whatever the outcome of the GATT negotiations, the time has come for the United States to mount a definitive, multilateral free trade strategy and to invite all interested countries to join with us in a free-and-fair-trade compact. Special access, but not a free ride, would have to be provided less- developed countries not capable of such a commitment.

Over a quarter-century ago, I staked out such a position on a new frontier in trade policy when I was chief economist of the Committee for a National Trade Policy. I am still waiting for the legions of self-styled "free traders" to join me.

David J. Steinberg

Alexandria, Va.

FARM BUREAU SEEKS

TO OPEN MARKETS

Your article "TV Ad Aired in U.S. Defends Tokyo's Ban on Imported Rice" (Jan. 31, Trade 3A) on Japan's advertising campaign to defend its closed rice market misrepresented the American Farm Bureau Federation's position. The story stated in its final paragraph that "the farm bureau, the largest U.S. farm group, had no plans to campaign for an opening of Japan's markets."

This could be interpreted as stating that the American Farm Bureau Federation is not interested in opening the Japanese rice market, which could not be further from the truth.

While we have no plans to run a countering advertising campaign, we actively seek an opening of all closed markets, especially the Japanese rice market, through the Uruguay Round talks of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

We are concerned that this paragraph - by not stating direct reference to an advertising campaign - could lead readers to a misunderstanding of our stance toward Japanese protectionism. We are working toward achieving significant changes in Japan's trading policies.

Absolute trade barriers like Japan's ban on rice imports must be eliminated. We are willing to give the GATT talks a final chance. However, up to this point, the Farm Bureau believesthat Japan has shown little, or in the case of rice, no flexibility regarding a favorable GATT outcome.

We hope that multilateral reform through GATT succeeds. But if it fails, we will encourage and participate fully in a unilateral trade complaint against Japan's rice import ban.

David P. Conover

Administrator

American Farm Bureau Federation

Park Ridge, Ill.

COINING A PHRASE

FOR EC CURRENCY

I was intrigued by your article "What Kind of Change Do You Get from an ECU?" (Page 10A, Feb. 6) and now feel compelled to allay the European mental anguish resulting from their lack of an "ECUnit." There you have it.

The previously unnamed one-hundredth of an ECU is the ECUnit, known affectionately and for short as the "Unit" or "nit." One dollar is worth approximately one ECU and 34 ECUnits, or nits, at current exchange rates. End of problem.

Daniel E. Gardner

Chevy Chase, Md.

On Feb. 6 you printed a wire report article entitled, "What kind of Change Do You Get From an ECU" (Page 10A). It addresses the European Community's difficulty in coming up with names for the smaller denominations of the ECU, the community's new form of currency.

One solution to this problem would be to make the smaller denominations of the ECU analogous to the units of the metric system. This is logical since the majority of the EC, if not all, uses this measuring system.

This solution would work as follows: The EC should insert the letter "C" before the word ECU for denominations that are one-hundredth of the ECU. The letter "D" would be added to represent the denomination that is one-tenth of the ECU. To denote one-half of the ECU the letter "M" should be placed before the word.

The new change could then be known as the "CECU," the equivalent of the U.S. penny, "DECU," the equivalent of the dime, and "MECU," the European counterpart to the U.S. half dollar.

This is my entry for the "Name the Smaller Denominations of the ECU" contest. What do you think the European Commission, the EC's executive body, would think of this solution?

Sean A. Cottle

San Francisco, Calif.

For the full story: Log In, Register for Free or Subscribe