From: Clinton...@Campaign92.Org (The White House)
Subject: CLINTON: President's Remarks: Export Commission 9/29/93
Date: 29 Sep 1993 16:22:43 -0400
Organization: MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 29, 1993
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN EXPORT COMMISSION REPORT ANNOUNCEMENT
The Roosevelt Room
12:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much and please be
seated. I want to thank, first of all, the members of the Trade
Promotion Coordinating Committee, all the members of my Cabinet and
administration who are here, and especially the Commerce Secretary,
Ron Brown, who did such a good job in chairing this effort.
I'd also like to thank the people who are involved in
our national security efforts, who supported these changes, a marked
change from times past. And I'd like to thank the Vice President and
the people who worked on the National Performance Review for a lot of
the work they did to reinforce our efforts to develop a meaningful
national export strategy.
Finally, I'd like to say a special word of thanks to
people who are here and people all across this country who have
talked to me about this issue for the last couple of years.
Everywhere I went where there were people who were trying to create
the American economy of the future, someone would take me aside and
talk about the problems of the export control laws, which may have
been needed in a former period when the technology was different, and
certainly the politics of the Cold War were different, but were
clearly undermining our ability to be competitive today.
If I might just by way of general introduction say that
I don't believe a wealthy country can grow much richer in the world
we're living in without expanding exports. I don't believe you can
create jobs -- and I'm absolutely convinced you can't change the job
mix, which is something we have to do in America with so many people
stuck in jobs that have had flat or declining real wages. I think we
have to do that. And I don't think it can be done unless we can
increase the volume of exports in this country.
And therefore, I have wanted to have a new export
strategy that would deal with a whole range of issues and that would
galvanize the energy, the imagination, of the American private sector
-- not only those who are waiting to export now and just held back by
laws, but those that we need to go out and cultivate, especially
small and medium-sized businesses that could be active in
international markets; their counterparts in other countries are
active. But because of the system -- or, if you will, the lack of the
system that we have had in the past -- have not been so engaged.
So I want to emphasize that the announcements we make
today are designed to create jobs for Americans, to increase incomes
for Americans, and to create the future economy, even as we have to
give up on much of the past.
I also want to say that it's very important to see this
announcement today in the context of our administration's support for
the NAFTA agreement. It will also open up export opportunities, not
just to Mexico, but throughout all of Latin America.
I just came from the United Nations earlier this week,
where I had the opportunity to host meetings with the Latin American
leaders who were there. The first thing every one of them asked me
about was the NAFTA agreement. And everyone of them said, look, we
want to do this, too. We want to lower our barriers to American
products. We want more American products in our country. No one,
even the most vociferous opponents of NAFTA would seriously urge that
the proposition that if we have lowered trade barriers with Chile or
Argentina or any other country that will lead to massive loss of
American jobs. It will clearly lead to massive gains in American
This is an important part of a strategy to build a
hemispheric trading opportunity for Americans. I also would say that
anyone who has seriously looked at the NAFTA dynamics, the specifics
of the NAFTA agreement, will actually alleviate all the complaints
that people have who are attacking it. It will raise the cost of
labor in Mexico; it will raise the cost of environmental protection
in Mexico; it will lower the trade barriers in Mexico that are higher
than American trade barriers; it will change domestic content rules
in ways that will enable us to produce in America, sell in Mexico.
And that country, with a low per capita income, already buys more
American products per capita than any country in the world except for
So I think that is a very important point to make. This
export strategy we announced today assumes that we have people to
sell to. And we have to also keep that in mind. We have to keep
reaching out to tear down these barriers, to integrate our economies
in ways that benefits Americans.
Let me just basically outline in some greater detail the
strategy that has been recommended by our counsel and that the Vice
As we all know, the export controls in American law
today no longer reflect the realities of the economic marketplace or
the political realities. The Cold War is over and the technologies
have changed dramatically. Therefore, today I am ordering sweeping
changes in our export controls that dramatically reduce controls on
telecommunications technologies and computers. These reforms will
eliminate or greatly reduce controls on $35 billion worth of high-
tech products -- ultimately 70 percent of all the computers. This
one step alone will decontrol the export of computers, the production
of which support today -- today -- 600,000 American jobs and now more
Let me be clear. As I said at the United Nations
earlier this week, I am more concerned about proliferation of weapons
of mass destructions than I was when I became President. Every day I
have this job, I become more worried about it. And we do need
effective export controls to fight that kind of proliferation. But
streamlining unnecessary controls will make the rest of the system
more responsive and efficient in combatting proliferation. And we
have, on too many occasions for too many years, not had a
coordinated, effective strategy against proliferation, but have had a
broadbased, highly bureaucratic policy that, in effect, cut off our
nose to spite our face.
We also know we have to simplify the export process.
There are 19 different export-related agencies in this government.
To say that we need more effective coordination would be a dramatic
understatement. The TPCC found this, as did the Vice President's
National Performance Review.
We propose to begin by creating one-stop shops in four
cities, consolidating all federal export promotion services in one
place. And eventually, there will be a national network of shops
linked together by computer technology. We also want to have one
phone number that will serve as an information clearinghouse for any
exporter of any size to learn about potential export markets.
Now, let me say why I think this is so important. Most
of the job growth in America is in small- and medium-sized companies.
Now, many of those, to be sure, are supplying bigger companies; many
of those are in high-tech areas where they're already attuned to
exports. But many of them are basically stand-alone operations that
sell to companies in America and could sell to companies overseas,
but don't know how to do it, think it's too much hassle, haven't
really figured out the financing, the paperwork, the market-opening
We have not done nearly as good a job as some countries
in mobilizing the energies of these countries. I have been immensely
impressed, for example, at the organization in Germany of the medium-
and small-sized companies to make them all automatically exporting.
And there's no question that the effort that they have made in that
country to mobilize small- and medium-sized companies for export is
one reason they've been able to maintain by far the most open economy
in Europe and the lowest unemployment rate at the same time. We must
do the same thing.
The third element of this strategy is meeting the
challenge of tide aid. Now, for the benefit of those here covering
this event who don't know what tide aid is, it basically is a
strategy that many of our competitors have followed who say if you
want our aid you'll have to buy our products. We have worked hard to
reach an agreement to limit the practice of tide aid, and we have had
some success in the last few years. But unfortunately, there is
still way too much of it in ways that cost Americans way too many
dollars in jobs and export opportunities that we could win under any
free market scenario imaginable.
Therefore, we propose to create a modest $150 million
fund within the Export-Import Bank, and with the support of Mr. Brody
and others who are here today, to counter the tide aid practices of
our competitors. By some estimates, our companies lose between $400
million and $800 million in export sales every year because of tide
Next, we want to focus the government to promote private
sector exports. We want an advocacy network within the government to
facilitate the efforts of our companies and to reinforce the one-stop
shopping. We want a commercial strategic plan in key foreign markets
to coordinate the work of federal agencies there -- something I heard
about over and over again from the U.S. business community, for
example, in Japan and in Korea.
We want to ensure that our embassies play a much more
aggressive role in promoting our commercial interests in a uniform
way around the world. Some of our embassies, to be fair, do a very
good job of this. Some are not active at all. Most are somewhere in
the middle. We need a uniform policy and a deliberate mission on
this, and I am very pleased at the support the State Department has
given to this effort.
We want to unify the budget of all export promotion-
related activities in the government through a new process
coordinated by the Economic Council, OMB and the Trade Promotion
Finally, let me say what we have today at long last is a
coordinated, targeted, aggressive export strategy. It means growth
and jobs and incomes for Americans. Compared to our competitors we
have for too long had a hands-off approach to exports. We have paid
for it. We now will have a hands-on partnership. Driven by the
market, guided by the private sector, limited where appropriate by
governmental policy, but clearly tailored to help Americans compete
and win in the world of today and tomorrow.
Many people when I started thought this would never
happen, especially those frustrated computer companies who have
labored under the burden of the past, because it required us to think
and act anew. It required disparate agencies to cooperate that had
never really spoken to each other about these matters. It required
Congress to work with the Executive Branch. It required everyone in
our government to listen to our customers -- in this case the
American businesses who pay so much of the tax bill.
But it is working. And we have laid the foundation for
a future really worth having in this country. Now, you all have to
go out and make this work. We intend to support it. We intend to do
what needs to be done. And we believe that government is now going
to be a good partner with the private sector in making tomorrow's
economy. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
I want to take a question or two. But before I do,
since we have a lot of folks from the private sector here, I just
want to say that one of the things we have really worked hard on in
government is getting all these -- look at all the Cabinet and agency
heads we have here -- we really try to work together. I won't say it
never happens, but we have got less turfing and less infighting than
any government I think that's been in this town in a very long time.
And it's a great tribute to them, and I want to thank them publicly
in the presence of those of you who have complained about the
inadequacies of the approach in the past. (Laughter.)
Q Mr. President, are you satisfied with Secretary
Brown's explanations about his relationship to Vietnam?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me say he's told me that he
hadn't done anything wrong, and he's done just about everything right
as Commerce Secretary. I think he's done a great job, and I have no
reason not to believe him.
Q Mr. President, are you concerned that his
effectiveness as Commerce Secretary in selling programs that are --
you're pushing, like this one and NAFTA, are undermined by this grand
THE PRESIDENT: Not if he hadn't done anything wrong,
I'm not. Business Week complimented him in an editorial today. I
was glad to see a Democrat get complimented in Business Week.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I hope it will happen a lot more
as we go along.
Q Mr. President, did the latest events in Moscow give
you pause about your support -- your previous support that you've
expressed for Mr. Yeltsin?
THE PRESIDENT: No. It is a tense and difficult issue,
and how to defuse what I understand to have been the circumstances
around the Moscow white house was a difficult call. I don't think
that any of us should be here basically arm-chair quarterbacking the
When I talked to Boris Yeltsin a few days ago, I told
him very strongly that I hoped we could -- that he would be able to
manage this transition in ways that really promoted democracy,
respected human rights, and kept the peace. And he said that would be
exactly his policy. And so far he has done that -- under very, very
difficult, intense circumstances. I mean, a lot of you have talked
about the -- just the difficulty of managing this and keeping up with
what's going on in the countryside and the pressures and all the
various interest groups. And I think so far they've done quite well.
Now, I'm going to have a meeting with Mr. Kozyrev later
today, and we'll have a chance to talk about this in greater detail.
But he's already made a statement that they're still committed to a
peaceful transition, and I have no reason to believe he's not. And I
think that the United States and the free world ought to hang in
there with a person that is clearly the most committed to democracy
and market reform of all the people now operating in Russia. Until I
have some reason to believe otherwise, I'm going to hang right where
we are. I think we're in the right place.
Q What are your concerns about the human rights
implications of having the parliament building there surrounded by
THE PRESIDENT: I think it depends on what the facts
were. If there were a lot of people armed in there and he was
worried about civil disorder and unrest and people being shot, I
think that when you're in charge of a government, your first
obligation is to try to keep the peace and keep order. So I think so
far, they seem to have acted with restraint, but with dispatch in
trying to defuse what otherwise might have become a very difficult
Now, I don't have all the facts, and neither does anyone
else. But nothing has happened so far that has caused me to question
the commitment that was made to me by the President and to his own
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END1:00 P.M. EDT