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Public Papers - 1992 - January

Remarks to Business and Community Leaders in Melbourne


Premier, thank you for that wonderfully warm introduction; and to all of the people of Victoria, this wonderful city, for the warmth of your reception. I'd like to salute the Deputy Premier, Jim Kennan, and his wife, Janet; Governor McCaughey and his wife, Jean; our Ambassador, Mel Sembler, and his wife, Betty. I'd like to single out and identify, for those of you who have not met him, our very able Secretary of Commerce who's traveling with me on this trip, Secretary Bob Mosbacher, over here; and thank our hosts for a wonderful day here, two of whom I think are also with us at this luncheon, Dick Warburton, who's president of the American Chamber of Commerce, and Brian Loton, the president of the Business Council of Australia.

Australia's national anthem speaks of a land abounding in nature's gifts, of beauty rich and rare. Well, Barbara and I feel richer for the rare privilege of being with you today. And Joan, tell your friend that the only button that I have my finger on these days is the one where I try to set the clock on my VCR. [Laughter] And I hope it always stays that way.

And I'm also glad to visit this country where much of your beautiful land is known as bush country. [Laughter] And now, if I can just get that description to apply to 50 States back home, all will be well. [Laughter]

Ten years ago this May, I first visited Australia to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Coral Sea. And since then, we have toiled together to advance what I call the hard work of freedom. I'm here to talk of how Australia and America can use that work to help build a better world. And we will build it through liberty and opportunity and through trade that is both free and fair. And we will build it by using our common culture and principles to promote prosperity at home and democracy abroad, especially the jobs and economic growth that is my highest priority.

This morning, Barbara and I visited the Australian War Memorial, where our alliance reminded me of General Patton's words: ``Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.'' The memorial stirs the memory of heroes who stood with our troops in combat, heroes who fought together to defend our common ideals. And our task now is to join together to create a world where the force of law outlasts the use of force.

The successful end of the cold war brings the promise of a world of peace and dignity. Its triumph is inevitable, but only if democracies are resolute. Globally, Australia has encouraged this concept by supporting a more engaged United Nations. And regionally, you helped shape the framework for the Cambodian peace settlement agreed to by warring factions. And I assure you, here too, we, America, are your partners. We will not abandon the special responsibility we have to help further stability in this region.

More than 150 years ago, President Andrew Jackson appointed J.H. Williams as the first American consul here. Arriving from Boston, Williams was greeted by a newspaper article. ``We welcome his arrival,'' read the Australian paper, ``as a pledge of increasing intimacy between the two countries from which mutual advantages may be expected to flow.'' One hundred and fifty years ago.

In the Persian Gulf conflict, those advantages served the cause of peace. And you were quick to condemn the Iraqi invasion, to endorse economic sanctions, to send ships to participate in the multinational coalition. And I thank you also for sending medical teams and humanitarian relief to Kurds and Iraqis fleeing Saddam's oppression. On Iraq, it is my hope that the Iraqi people now will rid themselves of that brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, so that our countries can start over with Iraq. You see, we have no argument with the people of Iraq or even with the military in Iraq. Our difference is with the bully, Saddam Hussein.

Australia has stood fast for principles of decency and peace. In 1984 you helped create the Australia Group, which today includes 22 member nations, each dedicated to preventing the use and spread of chemical and biological weapons. Australia believes that multilateral solutions can solve global problems. And so do I. Through two World Wars and other international conflicts, Americans have learned that they cannot divorce their destinies from the destinies of Europe and Asia.

History teaches that peace is indivisible; political isolationism doesn't work. As a new century beckons, we will use that lesson in support of peace and in hopes of preventing future wars. The Australian statesman Alfred Deakin once said, ``Next to our own nation we place our kindred in America.'' He knew that we are all members of the world community. And so, we need to strengthen our already steadfast commitment to Asia and to the Pacific region, increasing democracy, free expression, and yes, free markets.

In 1990, the two-way trade between this region and the United States totaled 0 billion. And I say that we can, we must, and we will expand our ties of trade. In America, one-third of our growth between 1986 and 1990 flowed from merchandise exports. To increase that growth, which means more jobs, Australia and America need the cooperation that must be a cornerstone of the post-cold-war world. That cooperation will increase trade, open markets, and ensure jobs.

On the other hand, economic isolationism is a bankrupt notion. Protectionism, it closes markets, it ensures poverty, and it costs jobs. America cannot and must not go down that dead-end street, and we won't as long as I am President of the United States.

You know that America is enduring tough economic times, and I know that Australia is facing hard times as well. American companies exported .5 billion in merchandise to Australia in 1990, 0 million more than in 1989. And we both need the new jobs that increased exports provide. Competition has compelled American companies to produce better goods and services than ever before. And I have full confidence that on a level playing field our workers can compete with anybody, anywhere.

And speaking of success in a free and fair trade environment, I have with me a delegation of American business leaders, including some that do business very successfully right here in Australia. Their success is a tribute not only to their commitment to quality but also to the basic openness and fairness of Australia's markets.

I had an outstanding chance to visit today with businesses doing business right here in Victoria, some American, some others, but all doing business and pleading for more open and fair access to markets. The business delegation is with me to help our efforts to open markets and spur economic growth all around the Pacific Rim. We ask no more and no less than you do: A playing field where partners treat each other fairly.

And like us, you understand that free trade must be fair trade. I applaud your policies to foster greater openness and competitiveness in the economy, especially erasing most import quotas and cutting domestic subsidies and tariffs. And I commend your efforts to strengthen the international economic system, spurring a regional effort to promote freer trade by erasing trade barriers.

Now, none of this has come easily, but thanks to you, we have made steady progress. And I am grateful that several years ago Australia led the way to create Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC, the premier economic forum in the Pacific. Since APEC's first ministerial meeting in Canberra 2 years ago, it has mobilized the support of all 15 participants to push for progress in the GATT Uruguay round.

And like the United States, other APEC members want to find ways to achieve sustainable growth, increase employment, and preserve the environment. And so do we. We want the jobs that stem from economic cooperation among Pacific Rim market economies, including the United States.

And just as we need your help, I want to pledge you our help. It is true that with so much in common, our two nations generally agree on goals. And let's face it, it is also true that occasionally we differ on means. I've heard a good deal about one: One difference is our use of this Export Enhancement Program, the EEP, it is known as, to counter the agriculture subsidies of the European Community.

And let me be clear, Australia is not the target of the program. As I said before the Parliament yesterday, the EEP has one and only one objective, to force the EC to stop its avalanche of subsidized exports. The EC subsidizes 10 times the exports as do we in the United States of America.

I know discussions on this issue are difficult and that Australia's position is based on the fact that Australian farmers are enduring hardship. I've learned that firsthand on this trip. I met with representatives of Australia's farmers just yesterday. And I heard firsthand their deep concerns, and I shared with them the depth of sentiment among America's farmers. Our farmers are hurting, too. I told them we weren't looking for sympathy, but I pointed out that our wheat production dropped by 30 percent last year.

Both of us want progress. Back in Washington, an Australian delegation recently visited our Department of Agriculture. We heard your perspective on the current world market situation and your appeal for sensitivity to Australian trade. Australian officials have expressed interest in holding followup talks early this year. That too is very encouraging.

Both our Governments are working hard on the real solution to this difficult problem. We can regain the momentum for progress by using what's called the Dunkel draft as a basis for achieving a successful conclusion to the GATT round of trade talks. It is essential, believe me, it is absolutely essential, not just for agriculture but for world trade, that those talks succeed and that we make real progress in a wide array of areas, but particularly on agriculture.

I have agreed to greater bilateral dialog on this and other economic issues. Let us show how the ``Waltzing Matilda'' can meet the ``Texas Two-Step.'' It can be done. And we will seek understanding in the future as in the past. We can be proud of working together over the last five decades. And so, together let's build upon that record.

We must expand our bilateral relationship in new ways that help our people. We both breathe the same air. So last April, we agreed to pursue energy policies that will increase exports while preserving our environment.

We both believe in the importance of education. So we launched the Australian Center for American Studies. This new center will expand bilateral links by developing programs of value to business and education and the universities. We hope this center will cause future generations to say of America and Australia, in the words of the great hymn, ``Blest be the ties that bind.''

These ties are economic, military, social, and cultural. This trip I'm on is about broad principles that draw our two great nations together. It's about the security of the Pacific. And it's about our global partnership. And it's about our prospects for economic growth.

Our relationship rests upon the shared values of our people: love of family, faith in God, pride in country, desire to conquer the unknown. The first pictures of Neil Armstrong's adventure on the Moon were beamed from Australia's radio telescope at Parkes to a waiting world. Later, Apollo XV was named Endeavor after Captain Cook's ship, in the hope of many future endeavors between our two nations.

So this new year, 1992, let's look forward to our next century together. Let's do the hard work of freedom for ourselves and especially for our children. Let's help them meet the challenges of their time, as we've met ours: Building the peace, creating opportunity, increasing the benefit of God's bounty for all.

Thank you all very much, and may God bless the people of this great land, Australia.

Note: The President spoke at 12:40 p.m. at the World Congress Centre. In his remarks, he referred to Joan Kirner, Premier of Victoria.

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