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Public Papers - 1989 - November

Statement on Trade Initiatives for the Andean Region

1989-11-01

When President Barco of Colombia visited me September 28, I promised to examine what the United States could do to expand economic cooperation between our two countries. I directed the United States Trade Representative, Carla Hills, to lead a U.S. Government interagency effort to develop a package of trade initiatives that will contribute to the administration's war on drugs.

Today I am announcing the result of that effort. The package of trade initiatives described below is designed to create opportunities for expanded trade and investment between the countries of the Andean region and the United States. Given the regional nature of the drug problem, I have decided to offer these trade initiatives to the countries in the Andean region. In creating such opportunities, this package aims to encourage and support fundamental economic reform in the countries of the region on the basis of market-driven policies.

I believe that through increased trade we can make a contribution to the creation of economic alternatives to drug trafficking. Healthy economies are the only lasting solution for eliminating the drug trade and substituting legitimate trade. They also offer the potential for increased United States exports and investment. Our goal must be to help create an environment where entrepreneurship can flourish and comparative advantages can be successfully pursued in competitive world markets.

With regard to bilateral and regional initiatives, we are prepared to:

do all that we can to enhance the benefits the countries of the region enjoy under our Generalized System of Preferences, including a review, to begin immediately, to consider the addition of new products, both agricultural and industrial, to the program;

undertake appropriate technical assistance to help the Andean countries improve their trade performance in industrial as well as agricultural products and urge the multilateral institutions to do the same; and

after consulting with the affected parties, explore possibilities for expanding textiles trade consistent with current U.S. Government policies and programs and the multifiber arrangement.

In the multilateral arena we are proposing to:

build on the political consensus to negotiate a new international coffee agreement that corrects the fundamental problems with the previous agreement;

undertake an accelerated negotiation on tariffs and nontariff measures with participants in the Uruguay round;

consult with our major trading partners (Canada, the EC [European Community], and Japan) to determine areas in which we can help the Andean countries improve their trade performance; and

support the multilateral development banks in their efforts to work with the Andean countries to promote meaningful trade policy reforms in the Andean countries.

In order to ensure that these initiatives are implemented quickly and efficiently, the Office of the United States Trade Representative is heading up an interagency Andean Trade Task Force to manage the process and to consider additional ideas for strengthening our cooperation with the Andean countries.

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