Remington Shaver Chief Seeks Lower Trade Barriers
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The president of the nation’s only remaining electric shaver manufacturer appealed for government help Friday to lower trade barriers in foreign countries that enjoy U.S. trade preferences for their goods.
In ″those countries to which we open our doors to offer low-duty entry, ... we are not only faced with huge tariffs but in some instances the door is completely shut″ to U.S. goods, said Victor K. Kiam II, president of Remington Products Inc., of Bridgeport, Conn.
Kiam, known to television viewers for his shaver commercials, told a House subcommittee that high tariffs, arbitrary product testing rules or prohibitive licensing restrictions have made it impossible to export his product to many foreign countries.
Countries that enjoy low duties for their exports to the United States such as South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico and Brazil, effectively ban the importation of Remington shavers, he told a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee.
While these trade barriers have hindered Remington’s efforts to increase overseas sales, electric-shaver imports jumped 67 percent in the last three years, Kiam said.
″It seems to me we start off at the 10-yard line and the other countries seem to start at our 15-yard line,″ said Kiam.
His company relies almost exclusively on U.S.-made parts to produce its shavers, Kiam said. Its ads bear the trademark ″Proudly Made in U.S.A.″
Kiam criticized the Justice Department’s antitrust division for declining to intervene when J.V. Philips, a Swiss company that also makes Norelco shavers, purchased the Schick shaver label several years ago.
Justice Department officials told him the case was too small for them to get involved with, Kiam said, forcing his company to initiate a private antitrust lawsuit to challenge the Schick acquisition.
The lawsuit has been pending for three years in federal court in Connecticut.
Remington is ″caught like a piece of bologna between a sandwich″ he said. ″Remington has got to fight both companies owned by the same parent, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of shavers.″
Federal policy discourages American companies to be competitive overseas, Kiam said. ″It’s as though the world and the United States government have said, ’We don’t want to be exporters ... we shouldn’t stay here, we should move (overseas), we should take advantage of lower labor standards overseas, we shouldn’t proudly say made in U.S.A.‴
Foreign competition is ″slowly eroding the living standard of the U.S. population,″ he added. ″We are in decline in basic manufacturing that can’t be halted without a complete revamping″ of industrial policy.