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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks on Signing the Proclamation Granting Special Trade Status to Poland

1990-01-05

Let me just welcome the Secretary of State and, of course, Secretary Mosbacher and Derwinski. It's a great pleasure to have Carla Hills here -- Ambassador Hills, our USTR -- Chairman Boskin, the head of our economic advisers. Who am I missing? We'll get to the Ambassador in just a minute. Ed Derwinski, I mentioned. Let me just give a special welcome today, Mr. Ambassador, to you, Ambassador Kinast, and just say how pleased we are you're here.

The past year has been one of outstanding change in Eastern Europe. One country after another has embarked upon it, each in its own way, down the path of peaceful, democratic reform. But it was the brave people of Poland, under the banner of Solidarity, that led the way, beginning with the roundtable agreement of last spring and continuing with the formation of the first non-Communist government in Eastern Europe in more than 40 years. Poland has blazed the trail, the freedom trail.

And so, I'm here today to fulfill one of the pledges that I made during my visit to Poland in July, granting the nation access to our Generalized System of Preferences, the GSP. This special GSP treatment means that Polish exports will enjoy the most liberal access possible to the American market, and it will pave the way for increases in Polish exports to the United States -- a vital contribution to Poland's economic recovery. It's going to open the door for investment, trade, and the interaction of two free peoples. And it's among the most important steps we could possibly take to help the people of Poland. And yet this measure is just one of many steps that the United States and our economic partners are taking to help Poland at this historic moment.

Let me outline just one other of these steps, if I might. As you know, in response to a request made last September by the new Polish government, I pledged that the United States would extend a 0 million grant as our contribution to a billion stabilization fund to support Poland's economic reform program. Well, I said that I would encourage our economic partners to contribute the remaining 0 million so that Poland's needs would be fully met. And now I'm pleased to announce that on January 2d our goal was met in full. We joined our economic partners in the Group of 24, pledging to the Polish Government a fund of more than billion, all to back its ambitious economic stabilization and reform program.

The United States now has developed a 3-year economic assistance program for Poland totaling more than billion. And of this, nearly half will be provided this year alone in the form of grants. And take note: The total financial commitments that we and our economic partners have made to Poland now add up to more than billion. And that's billion in Western economic assistance to Poland. Poland is not at the end but the beginning of a process of economic recovery and democratic change. The road they face is not an easy one. But the Polish people have already shown the courage and determination that they need to meet the challenges ahead. We will not let them face these challenges alone.

So, let me say it again, as I said out in Hamtramck last April: Poland is not alone, America stands with you. And now let me make all of this official, Mr. Ambassador.

Well, let me just at least say happy New Year to everybody. I know our other guests would like to do that.

Note: The President spoke at 2:04 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Edward J. Derwinski; Michael J. Boskin, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Polish Ambassador Jan Kinast. The proclamation is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.

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