Statement on the United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement

 

January 2, 1988

 

I am pleased to announce that Prime Minister Mulroney and I have today entered into an agreement to establish a free trade arrangement between the United States and Canada. In the truest sense, this is an historic agreement for both sides. We will strengthen what is already a deep friendship between our people by enhancing economic opportunities and creating jobs in both countries. Moreover, the agreement firmly establishes that the trade environment between the two countries will in the future be founded on the principle of free and open trade.

 

This comprehensive agreement will benefit many sectors of the U.S. economy. Canadian and American tariffs will be phased out completely, saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars while also improving our export opportunities. It will secure access to Canada's market for American manufacturing, agriculture, financial services, and high technology; improve national security through energy sharing; and provide important investment opportunities. Canada will benefit from the agreement in many of these same ways; the pact is truly reciprocal. As the agreement goes into effect, Canada's access to our large domestic market will grow, and Canadian industrial centers will gain opportunities to develop even more important roles in the economy of North America.

 

The agreement to establish a free trade area has important international implications, as well. It will encourage supporters of free trade throughout the world by demonstrating that governments can remove trade barriers even in the face of protectionist pressures. We hope that the U.S.-Canada example will help set the tone for the Uruguay round multilateral trade negotiations.

 

Our negotiations with the Canadian Government leading to this agreement incorporated advice from Congress, industry, agriculture, and labor. Our Congress, as well as the Canadian Parliament, will review the agreement fully over the next several months. As this process begins, both sides should be mindful that the decisions they make will help shape the relationship between our countries in the years to come and will send a signal to the rest of the world.

 

The creation of the world's largest free trade area will be a mark of leadership and presents an historic opportunity to the United States and Canada. We must not let this opportunity slip from our grasp.