Washington Outlook: Capital Wrapup
Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich's unconventional views on industrial policy are causing unease within the Clinton Administration. In a note to U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor, Reich argues that it's no problem if most computer manufacturing moves abroad. "Computers...are no longer high-wage exports," he writes. "Most computer hardware is now a commodity." He advocates letting developing countries take over low-value-added manufacturing--though Clinton opposed such transfers during the campaign. Reich also brands as useless the U.S.-Japan semiconductor pact, which requires the Japanese to buy 20% of their chips from foreign sources. He says 75% of the chips counted as U.S.-made are actually fabricated in Japan. But the Semiconductor Industry Assn. says the correct figure is closer to 25%.