8. Memorandum From Secretary of the Treasury Blumenthal to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Negotiations in Geneva on the Multifiber Textile Arrangement

Beginning the week of March 14, member countries begin negotiating renewal of the Multifiber Textile Arrangement (MFA), a multilateral agreement that sets overall standards for bilateral negotiations concerning textile imports.

The Economic Policy Group has agreed, unanimously, that the United States should press for straight renewal of MFA, resisting reductions in [Page 28]the present permitted rate of overall import growth (6 percent annually).2

As it stands, MFA affords us the necessary flexibility to seek lower import growth limits for particular products or countries in subsequent bilateral negotiations. We intend to seek such relief in appropriate cases.

W. Michael Blumenthal 3
  1. Source: Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Council of Economic Advisers, Charles L. Schultze Subject Files, Box 89, [Treasury Memos] [1]. No classification marking. A typed notation reads “FYI.” Carter wrote at the top of the page: “Mike—ok. J.C.”
  2. On March 7, the EPG Executive Committee decided that the U.S. delegate to the Geneva MFA renewal negotiations “should favor straight extension of MFA and should not favor tightening of the MFA’s import growth factor unless tightening appears necessary to secure renewal of MFA. Apart from the instructions, however, the administration would make clear to domestic industry and labor that bilateral quota negotiations would be aggressively pursued where necessary to prevent undue disruption of U.S. markets by imports.” (Minutes of the Economic Policy Group Executive Committee, March 7; Carter Library, Staff Office Files, Council of Economic Advisers, Charles L. Schultze Subject Files) The Multi-Fiber Arrangement was renewed in December 1977 for 4 years.
  3. Blumenthal signed “Mike” above this typed signature.