Remarks at a Meeting With Members of the Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations

April 8, 1987

The President. Well, Clayton and Ed, I want to welcome you and all the members of my Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations to the White House today. And I know, as you've been told, I was in Canada Sunday and Monday, and I'm glad to have this opportunity to maybe give you a personal word, although I understand you had a report on our trip there.

You could tell by the reception that we got in the Canadian Parliament that a free trade agreement between Canada and the United States is an idea whose time has come. They were most enthusiastic about it. And I pledged to Prime Minister Mulroney and the people in Canada that we're going all out to make this visionary proposal a reality, not just for the prosperity and jobs it would create in both our countries but as an example to all the world that free and fair trade is the way to go, and not protectionism.

I believe in an America that can meet the challenge of the 21st century, and this means better educating our young people, better training our workers, protecting our intellectual property, reforming our antitrust laws and trade laws when necessary, and pursuing multilateral trade negotiations -- and, yes, taking tough actions to open foreign markets that are closed to American exports. We have a comprehensive plan to deal with these issues, and we believe we can achieve them. In fact, much has already been done, as Clayton knows and has been seeing that it gets done. And you've proved to be invaluable advisers to Clayton and to me on the development and execution of our trade policy.

Reporter. Mr. President, are you considering rescinding your trade tariff restrictions against the Japanese? Are you impressed by what they've done? You call for free trade.

The President. We haven't had an opportunity yet to get together on that, but we're going to be treating that problem, and I'm looking forward to a visit by the Prime Minister.

Q. Are you convinced you're heading for a showdown with him when he's here?

The President. Well, he has been most cooperative with us, and I think he still has that same feeling about finding agreements that are fair to both sides.

Q. So, you'd like to avoid those tariffs, if possible?

Q. Well, they go into effect April 17th. Are they going to go into effect, these new restrictions?

The President. That's the way it sets now unless some decision is made on their part.

Note: The President spoke at 2:10 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Clayton Yeutter, U.S. Trade Representative, and Edmund T. Pratt, Acting Chairman of the Committee.