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By Elizabeth Pisani
393 words
1 May 1989
Reuters News
(c) 1989 Reuters Limited

JAKARTA, May 1, Reuter - U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, fresh from a visit to Australia where he faced accusations the United States unfairly subsidised its wheat exports, on Monday preached free markets and an end to trade barriers.

Addressing a breakfast meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, Quayle reiterated Washington's support for multilateral agreements to keep markets open.

"Our goal is to open markets, not close them," he said, thumping the podium.

He implied, however, that Washington was prepared to provide financial support for U.S. companies aiming for large contracts on world markets.

"Our aim must be to develop a strategy which effectively supports U.S. firms facing government-backed competition from Japan and Europe," he said.

"We prefer to use multilateral negotiations to achieve our objectives, but we will also engage in bilateral efforts and take selective unilateral actions...where they are necessary for opening foreign markets to U.S. goods and services."

In Australia, the first stop on a four-nation Pacific tour, Quayle came under fire for refusing to admit that cheap U.S. wheat, exported with government subsidies, was unfairly competing with Australia's international wheat sales.

In Jakarta, he acknowledged that the spectre of protectionism still loomed over Washington.

"There is always that latent fear that somehow protectionism will raise its ugly head. It is there, and political leaders in both parties can use it from time to time for political advantage, political expediency," Quayle said.

"But I can tell you as long as the Bush administration is in charge...we will be pursuing a policy that will be opening markets, knocking down trade barriers, reducing reliance on subsidies so we can have a fair and level playing field."

Quayle praised Indonesia's recent moves to deregulate its economy. He did not mention that Indonesia was one of 34 countries accused of unfair trade practices in a report on world trade issued by Washington last week.

Trade analysts say that Indonesia has a reputation for pirating everything from designer luggage to computer games to medicine.

Quayle said he was encouraged by a recent agreement signed by Washington and Jakarta to protect creative works, but stressed there was still work to be done to stop copying of intellectual property, trademarks and products.


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