NEW YORK (Jan. 22)
The joint U.S.-Soviet Trade and Economic Council has embarked on a vigorous lobbying effort to increase Export-Import Bank credits for the USSR and divorce political from economic issues in trade relations between the two countries.
Donald Kendall of the Pepsico Co., American co-chairman of the joint, council, said at a press conference here today that “the breakdown of the 1972 trade agreement” was “only a temporary setback.” He said the Ford Administration is “pledged to introduce and support vigorously new legislation which we consider an immediate imperative.”
The Soviet Union repudiated its 1972 trade agreement with the U.S. on grounds that provisions imposed by Congress linking trade with Soviet emigration practices was interference in Russia’s internal affairs. What displeased Moscow most, however, was the $300 million a year ceiling imposed by Congress on Export-Import Bank credits, Kendall said today that the joint council would like credits increased from some $469 million now to $2 billion by 1980.
MORE LIBERAL TERMS FOR MOSCOW
He also said, in a prepared statement that “The Council strongly believes in the need for wider separation of political and economic issues in the U.S.-Soviet trade relationship.” He indicated the strategy to be employed in pressing for fewer restrictions and more liberal terms for Moscow when he claimed that increased exports to the USSR would mean more jobs in America where unemployment is on the rise. He said U.S. Department of Commerce figures estimated that every $15,000 worth of exports generated one job.
Kendall also warned that the U.S. would be losing valuable Soviet business to France, West Germany and Japan which, he said, were already far more generous in their credit to Moscow. He said that nullification of the 1972 trade pact would not diminish the joint council’s work but on the contrary, “The activities of the Council are going to be increased.” He said the council will hold a meeting of top U.S. and Soviet business executives shortly to plan expanding business ties between the two countries.