JEERS AND A CHEER FOR LESLIE WEXNER
I am a vice-president of marketing for a major textile company with a large number of our production facilities located in Georgia. My wife loves to shop at Leslie Wexner's The Limited and Victoria's Secret. However, because of his recent comments, she had better not shop there in the future ("Why Leslie Wexner shops overseas," Top of the News, Feb. 3).
Our company is investing $63 million in our current denim mill in Trion, Ga. This will be the largest denim mill in the world to our knowledge.
We will hire an additional 400 people. None of our people is overpaid, including me, but we have an 80% medical- and dental-coverage plan, a pension plan, and a matching program for our 401(k). Wexner's part-time sales help surely doesn't. Given this, China's prison labor is hard to compete against for Wexner's orders. We have also spent millions of dollars to ensure we protect our environment. In Wexner's foreign countries, no such concerns or costs come into play.
William D. Havird
Leslie Wexner's claim that textile quotas an tariffs add an extra $558 to the average household's annual clothing bill is ridiculous and misleading. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 66 million families in the U.S. If you multiple that by Wexner's $558, the so-called "hidden tax" on imports, it comes to $36.8 billion. The Total value of all textile and apparel imports entering the U.S. in 1991 (including transportation and tariffs) was $41 billion. Where does the extra $36.8 billion cost come from? Could it be that the added cost to consumers he complains about is in reality the hugh markup he and others make on their imports?
American Textile Manufacturers
Instead of complaining about rapid increases in textile imports, U. S. mills should be asking themselves why U. S. companies must go outside their own borders for goods. The U. S. manufacturing industry cannot expect tariffs and quotas to continue to correct its mistakes. These bailouts just perpetuate uncompetitive industries and penalize efficient producers. This seems to be a poor attempt at trying to assure competitiveness, with domestic consumers footing the bill. Have we forgotten that countries are different and that the aim of trade is to allow economies to specialize, thereby producing goods for the lowest possible cost? If the welfare of consumers is truly the supreme concern, this in a nutshell will raise standards of living.
Linda S. Chaffin