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Public Papers - 1990

Letter to Congressional Leaders on Mexico-United States Free Trade Negotiations

1990-09-25

Dear Mr. Chairman:

In a letter to me of August 21, President Salinas formally proposed initiation of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the United States and Mexico (copy enclosed). As you know, President Salinas and I had endorsed the objective of a free trade agreement at a meeting in June, and our respective Trade Ministers, Secretary Serra and United States Trade Representative Hills, had so recommended in a joint report of August 8 (copy enclosed).

Mexico is our third largest trading partner, and you are aware of the dynamic, market-oriented reforms undertaken by President Salinas. We see substantial opportunities for mutual benefit in further lowering impediments to bilateral trade in goods and services and to investment.

Accordingly, I welcome the recommendations in the joint report and President Salinas' proposal. Negotiation of a comprehensive free trade agreement is consistent with the efforts of both my Administration and the Congress to eliminate barriers to the flow of goods, services and investment, and to protect intellectual property rights.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 1102(c) of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, I am hereby notifying the Senate Committee on Finance [House Committee on Ways and Means] of trade negotiations with Mexico.

I also want to inform you that the Government of Canada has recently expressed a desire to participate in the negotiations, with a view to negotiating an agreement or agreements among all three countries. I welcome the opportunity to work with our two neighbors towards this end. We, with the Canadian and Mexican Governments together, will be consulting in the coming months to explore the possibilities in this regard, which we will also discuss with your Committee. I will send a further or revised notice to your Committee as appropriate, depending on the outcome of our consultations.

I want to emphasize that such trilateral consultations will not affect the continued validity of the existing free trade agreement with Canada. Further, in all these discussions, we expect to build on our multilateral negotiating efforts in the Uruguay Round, which is scheduled to conclude at the end of this year.

Ambassador Hills has already begun consultations with your Committee, and the Administration will continue that process throughout the negotiations.

Sincerely,

George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Lloyd Bentsen, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The letters were released by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 26.

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