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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on International Trade


After extensive discussions with Ambassador Hills, Secretary Brady, and the members of my Economic Policy Council (EPC) on the Super 301 provisions of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, I have directed Ambassador Hills to give her highest priority to bringing the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations to a timely and successful conclusion in December of this year. I believe that multilateral negotiations in GATT are the most promising route for creating new opportunities for American industry and agriculture and strengthening the global trading system.

Promoting a vibrant, open trading relationship with Japan remains a key trade priority of the administration. I have carefully reviewed with the EPC the recent progress in negotiations with Japan. Since my meeting with Prime Minister Kaifu in March, Japan has moved to address our concerns in the Structural Impediments Initiative (SII) and in bilateral negotiations involving supercomputers, satellites, and wood products. The interim SII report made a promising start toward reducing structural barriers that contribute to bilateral trade imbalances.

I am not under any illusion that the SII interim report will lead to an immediate improvement in the trade balance with Japan or an end to bilateral trade disputes. When two nations like the United States and Japan share dynamic economies, a commitment to excellence, and strong trading traditions, some commercial differences are inevitable. Nevertheless, I believe that Prime Minister Kaifu and the Japanese political leadership share my commitment to ensuring that trade strengthens rather than undermines the friendship between our nations.

Accordingly, I look forward to substantial progress with Japan in the final SII report in July and on a variety of other trade issues. I will work closely with the Congress to implement the U.S. side of the SII, particularly in the areas of savings, education, and budgetary reform.

I have directed our U.S. negotiators to seek agreement with their Japanese counterparts on a joint mechanism to monitor the implementation of SII in both nations and consider the need for further actions. This mechanism should include regular reports on actions and results.

Because last year's Super 301 investigations on India remain unresolved, I have continued the identification of India as a trade liberalization priority. I have decided not to identify any new priority countries or practices under Super 301.

Let there be no mistake. This administration is committed to free and fair trade. We want open markets and fair treatment for our products, services, investment, and ideas. We will move forward in the Uruguay round and, as appropriate, under section 301 to remove foreign barriers to American goods. I am also directing Ambassador Hills to expand her semiannual report on section 301 to review both the status of existing section 301 investigations and related initiatives in important markets such as Japan.

I have directed Ambassador Hills immediately to brief the Congress on the reasons for my decision today.

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