The nation's international trade negotiator, Reubin Askew, said yesterday that he believes the White House commitment to export policy is not as substantial as it should be.
Askew told the trade subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee that President Carter has assured him that export policy is "high" on the administration's priority list. But Askew said White House export policy dedication "will have to be more than what it has been to save its hide."
He advised the subcommittee that soon-to-be-released export reports will allow Congress to evaluate the administration's export policy performance.
Meanwhile, the International Trade Commission has agreed to speed up its investigation of whether auto imports are injuring the U.S. auto industry, but has decided to delay its ruling until after the presidential election in November.
The former Florida governor urged that Congress work with the administration to settle quickly the problem of lack of funds for the Export-Import Bank. He said without a fully funded Ex-Im Bank there is no way to match export subsidies paid by other governments to their businesses. Nor will the U.S. have the leverage needed to negotiate export subsidies out of existence, he said.
Askew also supported legislation that would allow U.S. banks and businesses to set up export trading companies. He stressed that American industry must boost exports to help the United States pay its soaring import energy bills and to avoid skidding into third place as an exporter of manufactured goods.
Askew said that American consumption of foreign oil dropped 9.7 percent in the first five months of 1980. But "because of inflation and because of repeated OPEC price increases, we have been unable to reduce our ever-rising oil bill," he said.
"We could do a better job of paying this increasing ol bill without running such large trade deficits if we enjoyed a larger share of overall world trade."