Radio Address to the Nation on the United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement
My fellow Americans:
If someone were to ask us as a nation who our best friends are, what would be the answer? It's difficult to imagine any better friends than our neighbors, the Canadians. Our two peoples have lived, side by side, in peace and with the spirit of good will for the better part of two centuries.
Churchill once noted: ``That long Canadian frontier
U.S.-Canadian free trade agreement is the culmination of 18 months of strenuous
negotiations between our governments. Both Prime Minister Mulroney and I played
an active role in the process, keeping the negotiations on track and ensuring
that the outcome would be absolutely fair and equitable. Frankly, I think we've
come up with a winner, a winner for people on both sides of the border.
treaty will, over a 10-year period, eliminate the tariffs and bring down most
of the trade barriers that now serve only to tax or impede the commerce between
our two peoples. What will this accomplish? Numerous studies have shown that
the agreement will mean billions of dollars in new economic growth for both
countries each year. This means thousands of new jobs, increased investment,
and expanding opportunities. And it's not just the export industries which will
reap the rewards. The most easily recognized beneficiaries of this pact will be
the consumers of both countries. With enhanced competition, lower prices can be
expected as well as greater consumer choice. As for industry, eliminating the
obstacles to doing business and wiping out tariffs is going to be a great boon
to manufacturing on both sides of the border. Markets will open that have been restricted, sources of raw material and parts that are now
made more expensive by tariffs will be available at a lower cost. In short,
this treaty is going to be overwhelmingly positive for both
This, however, does not mean that there will be no opposition. Whenever there is change, even for the better, there are segments of society that resist -- small groups that have a special interest in keeping things the way they are -- even at the expense of keeping everybody else from moving forward. Benjamin Franklin, our much venerated Founding Father, saw this, even in his day. Talking about trade he noted: ``The more free and unrestrained it is, the more it flourishes; and the happier are all the nations concerned in it. Most of the restraints put upon it,'' he pointed out, ``seem to have been the projects of particulars for their private interest, under pretense of public good.''
in approaching the U.S.-Canadian free trade agreement, I would hope that the
national interest will overcome the pressure of the private interest, on both
sides of the border. I would hope that our peoples, of
I have no doubt that history will prove this agreement a boon to both our peoples. And through it, we will be an example to all the world of what free people can accomplish and demonstrate that the path to economic growth, job creation, and security is through negotiation and cooperation, not protectionism.
Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at from