Statement on Signing the Food Security Improvements Act of 1986

March 20, 1986

I have signed into law H.R. 1614, the Food Security Improvements Act of 1986. This legislation makes changes to several provisions contained in the Food Security Act of 1985, which I approved on December 23, 1985.

In signing the Food Security Act of 1985 into law, I indicated my administration's strong objections to several features contained in that legislation. One provision was the mandatory 3-year payment-in-kind export promotion program that requires the United States to give away $2 billion worth of commodities to encourage American exports. I stated that ``a program of this size and nature threatens to precipitate an agricultural commodity trade war with our allies; moreover, it may well be impossible to fulfill the $2 billion goal over the next 3 years without subsidizing exports in a manner which will be contrary to the national security interests of the United States.'' I am pleased to note that H.R. 1614 reduces this program from $2 billion over the next 3 years to $1 billion. This reduction will allow the United States to encourage export promotion without threatening our trade policy or our national security. I am also pleased to note that the Congress has revised language that had been adopted earlier relating to so-called advance recourse loans to make clear that this program is completely discretionary. The program is ill-advised and unnecessary, and my administration will not use its discretion to implement it.

Although this legislation does not correct all of the deficiencies contained in the Food Security Act of 1985, it nonetheless represents some improvement, and for that reason I have signed it into law.

Note: H.R. 1614, approved March 20, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 260.