8 June 2001, 12:33  O'Neill says U.S. exporters 'will do well,' despite strong dollar

WASHINGTON (AFX) - Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said U.S. manufacturers "will do well" despite a strong dollar.
O'Neill was responding to a letter from the National Association of Manufacturers calling for clarification of the Treasury's strong-dollar policy due to the "staggering" impact of the dollar's current level on manufacturers.
"All these people who signed me a letter, they'll all do well," O'Neill said in a CNBC television interview.
The letter, dated June 4, said: "We are writing to tell you that at current levels the exchange value of the dollar is having a strong negative impact on manufacturing exports, production and employment." O'Neill said he met with NAM President Jerry Jasinowsky and another NAM executive in the past week.
"We talked about these things," he said, adding that the letter was "what I would call an obligatory letter, telling me of things that I look at on my screen every day."
"I know what the relative relationships are between currencies," he said, explaining that "these relationships go up and down, and those who are well prepared (and) those who are on the leading edge: they always survive, they always do well, they always prosper."
Separately, when asked about the economic impact of the tax cut enacted earlier today, O'Neill said it should boost economic growth by half a percentage point in the second half.
"I read this morning (that) Merrill Lynch said three-quarters of a percent," he added.
In an earlier television interview, O'Neill had said he saw the tax cut raising GDP growth 0.75 pct in the second half, and 0.5 pct thereafter.
He also denied that the changeover of majority in the U.S. Senate will eliminate the possibility of further tax reform legislation, saying "I don't think so at all."

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