The recent country-wide campaign unleashed under the instigation of New England textile interests, once again brings into prominence the question of our Japanese import trade. Although the cry of Japanese menace has been flagrantly appealed to, Washington experts have been quick to expose the case as a private scrap between the industry and NRA authorities. The New Englanders maintain that high costs due to the NRA and the processing tax on raw cotton have necessitated higher prices, permitting the Japanese manufacturers to undersell us on our own domestic marekt. Under these circumstances they claim Japanese competition to be endangering the very existence of the industry, and have consequently filed, through the Cotton Textile Institute, a complaint with the NRA.
While it is true that Japanese imports have sharply increased, Washington observers cannot share the general alarm, with which the textile industry is at present stricken. Japan has long been our best customer for raw cotton, and through our high protection, textile exports in recent years have been from five to ten times the value of imports. Even if Japanese imports continue at the new high level reached in January and February of this year, they will still amount to only 7-10 of one per cent of domestic production.
That Washington has been so quick in exploding the textile industry's "scare," can be amply explained by the fear of authorities that similar emotional appeals to racial animosity may be resorted to by other pressure groups, thus disguising our real national interest as represented in trade with Japan, and precipitating a trade war. Should this nation embark on such a trade war with Japan, officials fear that our foreign trade might be realt a blow far more severe than that which the textile interests claim is threatening them.