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Feuding Feds Are Still Stifling Export Job Growth


Economic Trends

FEUDING FEDS ARE STILL STIFLING EXPORT JOB GROWTH

Clinton Administration economists have been disappointed with job creation thus far. It's not the number--the 1.2 million jobs created this year are in line with Clinton's campaign promise to raise employment by 8 million during his term. It's the quality of the jobs: Too many are part-time and poorly paid.

One way to create better, higher-paying jobs is to encourage the export sector, where jobs pay wages 22% higher than the overall average. But exporters aren't getting the right kind of help from the Administration, according to a draft study by the private Council on Competitiveness, which looked at national-security controls on high-tech exports. While computer makers had high praise for Clinton's recent easing of export controls on $30 billion worth of U.S.-made computers, the council found that it was still much too hard to get export licenses. Even worse, the study found that the hard-line Pentagon and the export-oriented Commerce Dept. were battling more fiercely than ever over granting permission for exports, with the relatively neutral State Dept. playing less of a mediating role. According to Richard C. Barth, who directed the study, the council will call for a new decision-making body, drawn from the staffs of the three agencies, that will settle on a single overall policy. PAUL MAGNUSSON With Larry Holyoke in Tokyo


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