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Public Papers - 1991 - May

Remarks at the Exports-Generating Jobs for Americans Luncheon in Boston, Massachusetts

1991-05-24

Thank you all very, very much for that warm welcome. Secretary Mosbacher -- and let me single out the other man up here -- it's so good to see the Bay State's own, able, achieving Governor Bill Weld here, who is working hard also in his spare time on this very important question of exports. I salute him and thank him for what he and the other New England Governors are doing when they come together to do this.

I want to salute Lieutenant Governor Paul Cellucci, an old friend who is out here somewhere; and another one, the treasurer of this State, Joe Malone, who are with us right over here. I'm going to get in trouble on this, but I see, next to Joe, Pat Saiki, the new head of the SBA; and Ron Roskens of AID is over here. John Macomber, formerly one of you, one of the chief executives of one of the largest companies in America, now ably heading the Ex-Im Bank over here. Another one so well-known who came out of private business, a big success, and now in Government, Fred Zeder, the able head of OPIC. And then -- many others -- Priscilla Rabb-Ayres from the U.S. Trade and Development Program; Ron Skates, head of Data General. Let me just cut it off there. But I should have many, many more to whom I pay my respects and my thanks. Let me just simply say thank you all for coming out, all of you in the audience who are supporting American exports.

Frankly, having gone to school outside of Boston, it is nice to visit Boston, a place known for its humility and intellectual modesty. [Laughter] The old saying you remember: If you hear an owl hoot to ``whom'' instead of ``who,'' you can be sure it was born and educated in Boston. [Laughter]

But I am glad to be back here. This area has been through hell, and I am absolutely confident that under the State's leadership of Bill Weld and under your leadership, Boston and Massachusetts has not lost its enterprise spirit. You're caught up in a regional problem with this recession, and I am confident that you'll come booming out of it, particularly if your work on exports is as successful as I'm sure it will be.

You know, it feels a little strange to be talking about exports in front of the real expert, my dear friend Bob Mosbacher. And I just can't tell you how much he's done on Fast Track and on all these regional conferences and in so many other ways. I'm glad to see him here. And I heard that he dashed back to Washington from yesterday's lunch to give a last-minute push for the extension of Fast Track.

Bob, you and everyone associated with our national export initiative have really done a spectacular job promoting exports from the United States. And, frankly, the numbers tell the tale. This nation enjoyed its greatest export month ever last October. And the latest monthly figures -- and they're for March -- nearly equaled the record. We exported billion in goods that month, and we had the smallest, the smallest monthly trade deficit that we've seen in 7/2\ years.

As you all know, the world economy has changed. It's changed dramatically in recent years. If you want to succeed in business these days, you can't worry just about competition from U.S. companies; you have to go head-on-head with firms from all over the world. The lesson is clear: If we want to remain the greatest economic power on Earth, we must build a strong economy at home. But in my view just as important, we must make sure that our companies have a fair chance to do business abroad.

In recent years -- I look around this room and read my briefing papers on the attendees -- your companies led the way. You helped drive the longest peacetime expansion in our nation's history. In the process, you supplied jobs and you generated ideas, and you created new industries. All you have to do is look around the Boston area at Information Alley, at larger companies such as Digital Equipment, Foxboro, Raytheon -- builders of the Patriot missile. Look at the medium-sized firms, such as Little and Ocean Spray. And you even have small dynamos, like Octocom Systems and Jet Spray International.

Boston was built on trade. Before our independence it was one of the most important ports in the entire British Empire. We reminded the Queen of that when she was here the other day -- [laughter] -- because we had her for lunch up in our Family Dining Room, which is surrounded with pictures of the Port of Boston and the vital trade that was going through there years ago, and it still continues. But it served as this nation's trading capital for years.

Enterprise comes naturally here. Yankee entrepreneurs push the envelope of innovation. You give America the power of inspiration, of enterprise, and of creativity.

The New England Governors Conference has worked hard to promote the cause of international trade. Governor Weld and five other colleagues have put together an economic development strategy that stresses the importance of increasing New England's visibility, increasing New England's clout in international markets.

Our administration has tried hard to encourage export businesses in a number of ways. Just a year ago we created the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, a council of 18 Federal agencies that provide export assistance to U.S. businesses. This week, the Committee has inaugurated a trade information center for companies to call in. The number: 1 - 800 - USA - TRADE. It gives callers access to information about the full range of Federal programs to help our exporters.

Today, let me just focus briefly on two critical aspects of international competitiveness: quality production at home and free and fair trade around the globe. Let's start with quality. It is no secret that American products, once the envy of the world, face stiff competition now from all over the globe. But no one can say that Americans aren't interested in quality.

In a competitive world we have reasserted ourselves and will continue to do so. Four years ago the Reagan administration and the Congress created the Malcolm Baldrige awards to honor quality in the workplace. We now give up to six awards a year, but only if we find enough companies that meet what are very exacting standards that the Baldrige award requires. The competition, I'm proud to say, gets more intense each year. Only 66 companies applied for the award in 1988; this year 106 did. The largest number of applications came from small businesses.

Everywhere you can find evidence that American businesses want to compete. You see it in the workplace, where labor and management are working together to build better and more reliable and more innovative products. You see it in the classrooms, where workers go to build upon our most precious natural resource, our minds. And you see it, I proudly say, in our America 2000 education strategy, which encourages lifelong learning. Even see it in shops and stores, where ``Made in the U.S.A.'' has become a selling point again and where the Baldrige award has become a major advertising bonus.

This is also true in foreign markets. Our export business has grown dramatically of late. American firms exported 1 billion worth of goods and services in 1985. Just 5 years later, their total had grown to 3 billion.

We export more than any nation on Earth, and we import more. Since 1986 sales to Canada, our larget trading partner, have increased by two-thirds. Our trade with Latin America has increased even more rapidly, up 74 percent. Listen to this one in light of the recent debate. Exports to Mexico, now our number 3 trading partner, have grown to an astounding 130 percent since 1986. That's really, as we see it -- Bob and I see it -- just a beginning.

We enjoyed an 80-percent increase in sales both to Western Europe and Japan. Exports to the newly industrialized nations of the Pacific Rim rose by 132 percent. And trade in this hemisphere has grown dramatically because the new democracies in Central America and South America have begun eliminating constraints on foreign investment and lifting import restrictions on such products as automotive parts, computers, software, industrial supplies -- the building blocks of any modern market economy.

As an administration, we want to build upon that record by completing the Uruguay round of the GATT negotiations and opening up the entire world for free and fair trade. We also want to create a free trade zone that would encompass Canada and the United States and Mexico.

This single market -- 360 million consumers who now produce trillion in annual output -- would tower over even the European market. But, frankly, we don't want to stop there. We also hope to build upon our trade success south of Mexico through the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative. We no longer will take South America for granted. I can't think of a more appropriate time to talk about these initiatives than today. We're wrapping up World Trade Week, and we stand on the verge of a new age of wider, swifter, more integrated world trade.

I am very, very happy, indeed, to say that the United States Senate a few minutes ago joined the House in extending the Fast Track trade procedures. And that was thanks to a great show of bipartisanship. I salute my fellow Texan, Lloyd Bentsen; I salute our leader in my side of the aisle, Bob Dole; I salute Bob Packwood and so many others who went up against big odds to prevail on this issue.

The administration can move ahead on several very important trade initiatives now. And these do include the Uruguay round of the GATT talks, the North American free trade agreement, and the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative. We've shown the world that we will meet the challenges of the 21st century and that we'll meet them united in purpose and united in effort.

Let me stress that the administration will consult closely with Congress in these trade talks. We have a superb negotiator in Carla Hills, Ambassador Hills, who along with Bob Mosbacher and others in this room worked their hearts out to achieve these victories in the House and the Senate. But we must from now on continue to cooperate with the United States Congress.

Fast Track provides a tool for dealing in good faith with Congress and with our trading partners. Its passage provides some of our best economic news in months.

I met recently with leaders from the textile and apparel industries. Let's face it, that industry was somewhat divided. But I met with quite a few of them in the White House, leaders of the industries, each of whom saw great opportunity in a free trade agreement with Mexico. One CEO told me that her company's 1,200 jobs in Mexico support 2,000 jobs here in the United States of America. And without this alliance, she said, those 2,000 jobs simply would not exist.

And the point is this: Through Fast Track, I really believe everybody wins. In a world built upon free trade, every nation has a vested interest in the prosperity of its trading partners. After all, you can't export to a nation that is suffering from economic depression. Free and fair trade builds ties of mutual interest. It lays down a foundation for peace and for prosperity right here in our hemisphere and throughout the world.

Our entire administration is dedicated to the cause of free and fair trade and American exports. Vice President Quayle was promoting the cause just this week in Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. And just a short while ago, I met with members of PEC, the President's Export Council. And what a superb Council we have -- busy people, busy executives giving their time to help this concept of expanded exports. Heinz Prechter and Bev Dolan and the other hard-working members are advancing the cause.

And you in your daily affairs play an equally crucial role. You help America put its best face and its best products before the entire world. And so again, on this very special day for American exports and, I say, for American prosperity, I thank you for being here. I thank you for all the time you give to this noble crusade. And may God bless you and God bless our wonderful country. Thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:34 p.m. in the Cityview Ballroom at the Boston World Trade Center. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher; Gov. William Weld and Lt. Gov. A. Paul Cellucci of Massachusetts; Joseph Malone, Massachusetts State treasurer; Patricia F. Saiki, Administrator of the Small Business Administration; Ronald W. Roskens, Administrator of the Agency for International Development; John D. Macomber, President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; Fred M. Zeder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Priscilla Rabb-Ayres, Director of the Trade Development Program; Ronald L. Skates, president and chief executive officer of Data General Corp.; Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom; Senators Lloyd Bentsen, Bob Dole, and Bob Packwood; Carla A. Hills, U.S. Trade Representative; and Heinz C. Prechter and Beverly F. Dolan, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the President's Export Council.

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