Export Programs Don't Need Washington's Help

Reading "Welfare cuts: Now, it's Corporate America's turn," (News: Analysis & Commentary, Apr. 10), I'm torn between my long-held belief that anything that promotes U.S. exports is worth funding and my knowledge that Commerce Dept. export activities are marginal at best.

In a 1981 survey by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the highest rating given by business leaders to any federal export promotion program was 6 out of 10. (When I went to school, 60% was an F.)

Exporters today are well served by university, community college, and World Trade Center programs, and a huge cast of consultants, export agents, export management companies, etc. Subsidies that entail support for bureaucrats in Washington are not needed.

David Thomas

Associate Dean, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Editor's note: Thomas is the former president of Northern Telecom Japan Inc.