The administration announced yesterday that it had completed its two-pronged effort to restrict shoe imports into the United States rather than impose the higher tariffs recommended by the International Trade Commission.
The Office of the Special Trade Representative said yesterday that South Korea had agreed to hold its exports of shoes to the United States to 33 million pairs in the 12 months starting June 28.In 1976, Koreas shipped 44 million pair of shoes here, a sharp increase from 1974 when it sold 9.2 million pairs and 1975 when Korean exports to the United States were 16 million pairs.
Last week, Taiwan agreed to hold its exports to this country to 122 million pairs, down from 156 million in 1976. Like Korea, Taiwan's shoe exports increased sharply between 1974 - when it sold 88 million pairs here - and 1976.
Stephen Lande of the Office of the Special Trade Representative said the government does not expect a significant impact on either prices of availability of the kind of low-cost shoes both countries export to the U.S.
But Lande said the government will monitor the shoe situation and, if it should appear that domestic manufacturers are not producing these low-cost shoes - as they have said they are capable of - or if there is a "significant" surge in prices, the President would ask for another investigation by the International Trade Commission. The commission was set up to administer the 1974 trade law.
Shoe imports into the United States increased significantly between 1974 and 1976, with all the increase accounted for by South Korea and Taiwan. Shoe manufacturers petitioned the trade commission for relief last year, and earlier this year the commission determined that shoe imports were harming domestic workers and manufacturers.
Rather than impose the high tariffs recommended by the commission, President Carter sought instead to negotiate voluntary quotas, called orderly marketing agreements, with Korea and Taiwan.
An interagency task force, headed by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Sidney Harman, is working on a new assistance program to help American firms and workers adjust to import competition.