Remarks on Signing the Surplus Agricultural Commodities Disposal Act of 1982 and Announcing the European Communities Steel Export Arrangement

October 21, 1982

I am going to sign a bill here. I'm very happy to sign it, and I know that these people behind me are very happy, also, because I know that Governor Thone, when he was in Congress, worked very hard with regard to the use of grain for alcohol or fuel, as an energy source. And the three House Representatives here from Nebraska -- Doug Bereuter, Hal Daub, Virginia Smith -- who isn't with us this morning -- but all of them were sponsors of this particular bill.

And it is a bill, now, that will enable the Department of Agriculture to take the grain that is held in storage there and convert it into agricultural byproducts and, principally, alcohol for fuel use. And one of the advantages of that is that the presence of the large stock of government-held grain has always been a factor in holding down prices. It was a threat to a legitimate pricing of grain.

So, without any further words, I'm going to go over and sign the bill. You'll note that government pens will only write one word. [Laughter]

[At this point, the President signed the bill into law.]

It is now law.

And I have another announcement, if you don't mind, that I'd like to make this morning, also, that I think is encouraging news.

And I'm pleased to announce what I think is a piece of good news for the American steel industry and the many thousands of American workers and their families who depend on the steel industry for their livelihood. And it's good news for the economy.

Commerce Secretary Baldrige and Vice Presidents Haferkamp and Davignon of the Commission of the European Communities have successfully ended negotiations for an agreement, an arrangement that will restrain European steel exports to the United States for the next 3 years.

These revisions of the Steel Trade Agreement, concluded last August 5th, cover 90 percent of steel imports from Europe and will relieve our domestic steel industry from the unfair competition of subsidized foreign products. And that, in turn, will mean more and lasting jobs in the steel industry, which will translate into good news on the employment front. In return for the agreement on imports, the American steel industry will drop its countervailing duty and dumping suits against over 40 European companies.

Reaching this agreement was a long and arduous process, and I want to commend both Secretary Baldrige and his European counterparts for their outstanding efforts. They have resulted in a mutual understanding that is reassuring evidence that America and her allies and trading partners can work together for the amicable settlement of differences in an atmosphere of cooperation and understanding. It's also one more small but important step toward the lasting inflation-proof, job-creating economic recovery we've all been working so hard to achieve for our people.

Now, don't worry about questions. Mac Baldrige is in Washington. This has just been piped into the newsroom there and will be piped to your own newsroom here. And he will be able to handle all the details of the briefing on this, which lets me home free.

And again, my congratulations and thanks to these people here for making this possible. And that is, really, another step forward that's going to help us in the economy.

Note: The President spoke at 10:37 a.m. at the signing ceremony in the Iowa Room at the Red Lion Hotel in Omaha, Nebr.

As enacted, H.R. 6142 is Public Law 97 - 358, approved October 21.