Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on Trade With Canada

September 27, 1985

The President spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Mulroney on September 26, 1985, and warmly welcomed the offer from the Prime Minister to explore the scope and prospects for bilateral trade negotiations between our two countries. The President is firmly committed to the pursuit of free and fair trade. The Canadian offer could provide opportunities for both countries to facilitate trade and investment flows.

Canada is our largest trading partner with two-way trade in 1984 exceeding $110 billion. Canada takes nearly one-fifth of our total exports, accounting for close to $45 billion in U.S. exports. The Canadian expression of interest is in keeping with the desire expressed by the President and Prime Minister at the Quebec summit to explore ways to reduce and eliminate all existing barriers to trade between our two countries.

The U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Clayton Yeutter, will begin informal consultations with the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means Committees on the advisability of entering negotiations. The administration will also seek advice from the private sector on the desirability and objectives of any bilateral negotiations. In addition, the administration will request advice from the U.S. International Trade Commission on the economic impact on U.S. industry of a bilateral trade agreement with Canada.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters in the Briefing Room at the White House during his daily press briefing, which began at 9:20 a.m.