Remarks to the American
Coalition for Trade Expansion WithCanada
June 16, 1988
you all very much, and welcome to the White House. I know that sounds strange,
but they consider all this part of the White House complex.
I want to thank each one of you for being a part of the American Coalition for
Canada Free Trade, and in particular, let me thank Jim Robinson for taking the
lead in this effort. I know you've already heard from Jim Baker and Clayton Yeutter. I think you know the key role that they've played
in achieving this historic agreement, which will mean greater jobs and
prosperity for generations to come.
there was ever a case of being on the right side of history, it's certainly
true of the Americans and the Canadians who have helped achieve our free trade
agreement. I think people on both sides of the border realize that this
mutually beneficial agreement is part of a shared destiny, but it's the hard
work of people like you, in both countries, who made it happen and who are now
helping to finish the job.
that's reminding me of a story -- things usually do remind me of a story.
[Laughter] It can be illustrated. It has to do with an old farmer who had a
piece of creek-bottom land and decided one day to make something out of it. It
was covered with rocks and brush, and he set to work hauling the rocks away and
then grubbing out the brush and all. And then he cultivated, and he fertilized,
and he planted. And finally he had the most beautiful garden down there that
you've ever seen. And one Sunday morning after church service, he said to the
minister -- he was so proud of this -- he asked him if he wouldn't like to come
out and see what he'd been doing out there along the creek. And so, the
minister came out, and they went down. And the Reverend looked, and he said,
``I've never seen anything like it.'' He said, ``These
melons -- how the Lord has blessed this land. And look at that corn.'' He said,
``God has really been good to this place.'' And he went on like that about the
beans and everything else that was there, and the old boy was getting pretty
fidgety. And finally the minister came to him and said, ``Oh,'' he said, ``what
has happened here with the help of the Lord.'' And the old boy said, ``Reverend,
I wish you could have seen this place when the Lord was doing it by himself.''
the truth is that a lot of people have come together behind the free trade
agreement. And I'm very pleased by the bipartisan cooperation that we've
received in Congress. Actually, even the protectionists could help in their own
way. You see, if protectionists in the United States say that the agreement
favors Canada, and I could write that
down and send it to Prime Minister Mulroney, and he could show that to the
Canadian Parliament. And if the protectionists in Canada say it benefits the United States more, then the Prime
Minister could copy that and send that to me, and I could show that to our
Congress. And I figure with that kind of support coming from both sides of the
border we just couldn't lose. [Laughter]
truth is that the biggest winners in this agreement are the citizens of both
the United States and Canada: Both will get more
jobs, faster growth, lower prices, and come out miles ahead of the
protectionist countries of the world. Under this trade pact, Americans and
Canadians, the world's two greatest trading partners, will, by doing business
with each other, have an alternative to the tariffs and trade barriers that we
both face in doing business with other countries. So, in creating the largest
free trade area on Earth, both of our countries can become more competitive.
the U.S.-Canada agreement accomplishes on a bilateral basis is a tremendous
example of what we can, and ultimately must, achieve multilaterally. In that
sense, this agreement is a gift to the world. It creates a model that can be
imitated and expanded and, ultimately, made universal among free nations.
America has been performing
strongly in world markets. In a report released this week, the Nation's April
trade deficit fell by 15.5 percent, bringing it down to $9.9 billion, which is
the lowest monthly figure in more than 2\1/2\ years. These results continue the
progress that's been underway for several quarters. In fact, in the first
quarter of this year, U.S. exports in goods and
services rose at an annual rate of over 20 percent. Now, this is the kind of
good news that I'm delighted to carry to the Toronto summit.
I meet in a few days with the heads of the major industrial democracies, I will
urge that we continue to work together to open our markets. We need to give the
Uruguay round of GATT [General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade] negotiations another push forward.
of the most difficult trade problems facing the United States and Canada is in agriculture.
Trade-distorting subsidies are so pervasive around the world that no single
nation -- or two nations -- can afford to give up these practices unilaterally
or bilaterally. We must seek a multilateral solution.
the important new areas of trade in services and trade-related investment, the
agreement with Canada breaks new ground and
shows the way to a multilateral accord. The multilateral trade talks are
scheduled to go for 4 years. But we can't afford to let those talks languish
now, as we near the halfway point. In Toronto, we, the heads of the
major industrial states, should push our ministers to lay down specific goals
and a timetable to the finish line by the end of this year -- no excuses. Our
goal must be universal free trade among free people and free countries, and
that's the shape of the future.
has no future; it's a dead and discredited idea. In a global economy, there can
be no surer way of impoverishing ourselves than to try to make America go it alone, by cutting
us off from trade and investment with the other countries of the world. The
protectionists make me think of the story of that Sunday school teacher who
asks her class, ``Who wants to go to heaven?'' And all
of the children raise their hands except for one little boy in the back of the
room. The teacher, astounded, says, ``Charlie, don't you want to go to
heaven?'' And he says, ``Yep, but not with this bunch.'' [Laughter]
today, we have a global economy in which the United States is at the very center.
We import and export more than any other country on Earth. Of total foreign
investment in the world, nearly 40 percent, by far the largest share, consists
of Americans investing overseas. But it's not a one-way street. At the same
time, the United States also receives more
foreign investment from abroad than any other country. So, we truly are the
investment capital of the world.
of the reasons world capital has been drawn to the United States is that we have led the
world in reducing tax rates. Back in the 1970's, the top personal income tax
rate in the United States was 70 percent. That
was even higher than the average of the other leading democracies -- industrial
democracies. Well, today, instead of taxing our citizens more heavily than
those other countries, our top Federal rate of 28 percent is the lowest, most progrowth, most competitive top personal rate of any of the
leading industrial democracies in the world. And when the people around the
world see the American economy booming, it's not surprising that they want to
had that experience. My first time was in Canada at the first summit. My
freshman year here was held in Ottawa. And I was kind of a
new kid in school. And they didn't listen much if I did talk, and I didn't talk
too much and all. But it was a great thrill a couple of years later when our --
economic plan had started working. When I appeared at the table for the next
summit meeting, and my six colleagues across the table were looking, and all
they wanted to hear was how did we explain the
American miracle that was taking place. And I took great delight in telling
them about -- well, to follow our lead by cutting taxes and excess regulation
and opening things up to freer trade.
America has produced nearly 17
million jobs over the last 5\1/2\ years, putting employment at an all-time
high. And we're providing jobs for a larger percentage of our population than
any of the other major industrial democracies. Since 1982 we've created jobs in
the United States at twice the rate of Japan and Britain, 8 times the rate in Italy, and 14 times the rate
of West Germany. So, anyone who thinks
that we've somehow lost jobs through trade not only has it wrong, they've got
it upside down and backward.
know, I don't know whether you've known this. I had to get this job to learn
that the statisticians have as our potential employment pool everyone in the
United States 16 years of age and up, both sexes. Now, that includes all the youngsters
still getting education; that includes all of the people retired and everything
else. But that's our potential employment pool. And today, when I said the
largest rate of employment -- 62.6 percent of that entire pool is employed in America today. I used to get
upset not too many weeks ago at some of the Presidential candidates and things
that they were saying about how we must do something to get jobs for people.
we're now in the longest peacetime expansion on record, the first in the postwar
period in which we've grown faster than most of our major trading partners. And
after 65 consecutive months of growth not only have we kept inflation under
control but the inflation rate is a good deal lower than it was before the
expansion began. And with the American economy booming, not only is the end not
in sight but I believe that the best is yet to come.
If the progrowth economic policies of the last 7
years are continued, the next decade will be known as the Roaring Nineties.
U.S.-Canada free trade agreement will help assure that this type of growth and
prosperity continues and expands to embrace everyone in our society. Our
protectionist opponents do not know how to create real prosperity, so they try
to freeze the status quo. It's like a flim-flam
version of the $1 million lottery: The winner gets $1 a year for a million
what we're offering is the real thing -- real jobs, real growth, real
prosperity for America and for Canada. And again, I want to
thank you for all that you're doing to support the U.S.-Canada free trade
agreement and for taking the time this year to be a part of history. I can't
thank you enough, and without you, I don't think we'd be where we are today. I
told a few of you just a little earlier today, a few of you, that really what
we did that I think made all of this happen was we just got out of your way. As
long as I'm around, we're going to keep on staying out of your way as much as
we possibly can.
you all, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at at a briefing in Room 450 of the OldExecutiveOfficeBuilding. In his opening remarks, he referred to James D. Robinson
III, Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations;
Secretary of the Treasury James A. Baker III; and U.S. Trade Representative