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This is especially a happy moment for me. Some of know that when I was a young man, when I was very young, my father was a Buick dealer in a small town in Arkansas where I was born, and he later went into business with my uncle in a larger town. I can still remember the first gainful work I think I ever did, when I was 6 years old, was trying to help my dad restore some Henry J.'s that had burned in a fire 35 miles from our home. And as a favor to the dealer, he helped him restore the cars, and we got to keep one. So until I was 18 years old, I drove a 1952 Henry J. self-made convertible. I once had an accident in it, and my jaw hit the steering wheel, and I broke the steering wheel in half. I don't know if that was an advertisement for my jaw or a condemnation of the steering wheel.

One of my most prized possessions is a 1967 Mustang convertible that I restored a few years ago. And I think when I left my home, it was the thing that I most regretted leaving behind. The other people who drove on the roads in my home State, however, were immensely relieved.

I think that all of us have our car-crazy moments and have those stories. Today, we're going to try to give America a new carcrazy chapter in her rich history, to launch a technological venture as ambitious as any our Nation has ever attempted. General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and your National Government have agreed to accept a set of ambitious research and development goals for automobiles. We're confident that other companies outside Detroit will join in.

Our long-term goal is to develop affordable, attractive cars that are up to 3 times more fuel-efficient than today's cars-3 times-and meet strict standards for urban air pollution, safety, performance, and comfort.

Industry and Government engineering teams will work together on this. The project will involve Federal and industry funding. The Government will pick up a greater share of the high-risk projects, ones identified by an auto industry/Government team. We'll have three types of research projects: first, advanced manufacturing techniques to lower production costs and get new products on the market fast; second, research on tech

nologies that can lead to near-term improvements and auto efficiency safety and emissions; and third, research that could lead to production prototypes of vehicles capable of up to 3 times greater fuel efficiency.

Now, the Vice President mentioned that this brings together a number of things we are trying to do in this administration. First, there's a public-private partnership. Government can't do these things by itself, but there are a lot of things that we need to be working on that market forces alone can't do. So the

third way, a partnership between the Government and the private sector to avoid the inefficiencies, the bureaucracies, and the errors of Government policy but to add the technology and the investment expertise we can bring, I think this is the way we're going to solve a lot of problems in the future. We'd be foolish not to rely on the auto industry with its clear understanding of the practical problems, and this makes sure that neither Government nor industry wastes money on projects with no real future.

The second thing we want to do is to keep America competitive. When you think of all stands out is not just how catchy they are the slogans you've heard over the years, what

but how much truth there is to them. In the new Chrysler form skillfully follows-in the new Chryslers-excuse me-form skillfully follows functions. Ford has had better ideas.

And there is a lot to admire if you've driven a Buick lately. We have got to do more of this.

You know, one of the great untold stories, although it's beginning to get out, is that these people up here on this stage are regaining American market share. People are buying more American cars made in America because they're doing a good job.

And since the auto industry is responsible for one out of every seven jobs in the United States, it is clearly incumbent upon all of us to

support this effort and to make sure it succeeds. What better way is there to work together on a car that's practical, affordable, fun to drive, places little or no burden on the environment? We want American cars at the head of this parade, not bringing up the rear. Believe me, there will be a huge market for them.

The third thing we want to do—and this is very, very important to this administration; part of our commitment to reinventing Government-is to get rid of wasteful and costly regulation. The Government will in no way abdicate its responsibility in the search for near-term improvements in fuel efficiency, but we do want to break the wasteful gridlock in Washington over auto issues. We want a vehicle that lets us scrap a lot of the regulation in place today because it's achieved the objectives of the regulation in a much more efficient and market-based way.

This agreement represents an important peace dividend. It makes the expertise of the Department of Energy's weapons labs, as well as the research departments throughout the Department of Defense available to industry. That means all those super-strong, light-weight materials developed for weapons systems will be available here.

I told someone today right before we came out-I told the Vice President that I remember very vividly over 30 years ago standing in the showroom of the Buick dealership in my hometown and having my dad look at the new models and say, "You know, some day they'll figure out a way to make a car that weighs less than half this much, and the fuel efficiency problems will be a long way toward being solved." Now we know we'll be able to do things with engines that we never dreamed over 30 years ago.

Let me make one last point. This agreement grows out of a bedrock premise of this administration, one of the reasons that I ran for President. This agreement reflects an understanding that changes in this world are inevitable. They cannot be repealed. They cannot be rolled back. They cannot be denied. They can be avoided or delayed at our peril. What we have to do is to try to find a way to make these changes our friends. This is a visionary effort on behalf of the American people to make change our friend in one of the most important economic areas of American life. We do not have the choice to do nothing. We have to act decisively to shape change so that it matches the needs of the future. That's what we're trying to do with health care. That's what we're trying to do with economic policy. That's what we're trying to do here today.

This is the end of a long negotiation and the beginning of a great period of action and excitement in American life. Is there any risk? You bet there is. We have to condition the American people to be willing to take more risks and fail in order to ultimately succeed. Will we have setbacks? I imagine we will if we do anything. But that's no reason to give up.

Alexander Graham Bell once remarked that if he had known more about electricity, he never would have invented the telephone. We need a little more of that kind of ignorance today to just keep walking into those solid walls until they give way.

We cannot be deterred by the difficulty. For 50 years, the companies represented here today have comprised the basic engine of American prosperity. Working together, we can make sure the freedom and convenience of personal vehicles will continue to be available to all Americans. We intend to do nothing less than to define the world car of the next century, to propel the auto industry to the forefront of world automobile production, and to make this industry the source of imagination for young people of the future, for their ideas, their careers, and their efforts.

I'm excited. But most importantly, maybe, our young people are excited. And let me just close with this story. I was greeting a number of Ambassadors the other day, including an Ambassador from one of the Baltic countries who has an American wife and a young son who is 5 years old, who speaks fluent English and German, because his father had been living in Germany. I never met a 5-year-old kid like this in my life. And when I shook hands with him, he said, "I'm glad to meet you, Mr. President. I want you to make a car that runs on electricity and doesn't pollute the air." And he said, “I intend to work on this, and I want you to tell the Vice President that I'm working on this.” [Laughter]

So I said, "Well, you tell him." I was so impressed I went to get Al Gore, and I introduced him to this 5-year-old boy, and he said, "Hello, Mr. Vice President. I intend to spend my life working on this." And he said, "I am going to help you develop an electric car that has no pollution." And Al Gore says, “That

means we're going to be partners.” He said, "Yes, I guess so. But you don't understand. I'm going to spend my whole life on this." [Laughter]

We've got all these kids out there that are on fire about this. And I want to say again, maybe that's the most important thing in the world. We can keep them looking to the future with confidence. This country needs a good dose of old-fashioned confidence today that all the challenges we face can be met and conquered. And this ought to be a clear signal to America that the core of the American industrial economy, the auto industry, is looking to the future with confidence and that the United States Government is going to be their partner in that successful march. Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:24 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Robert J. Eaton, chairman and chief executive officer, Chrysler Motor Co.; Harold A. Poling, chairman and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Co.; John F. Smith, Jr., president, General Motors Co.; and Owen Bieber, president, United Auto Workers. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Remarks Announcing a National
Export Strategy and an Exchange
With Reporters
September 29, 1993

The President. Thank you very much, and please be seated. I want to thank, first of all, the members of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, all the members of my Cabinet and administration who are here, and especially the Commerce Secretary, Ron Brown, who did such a good job in chairing this effort.

I'd also like to thank the people who are involved in our national security efforts who supported these changes, a marked change from times past. And I'd like to thank the Vice President and the people who worked on the National Performance Review for a lot of the work they did to reinforce our efforts to develop a meaningful national export strategy.

Finally, I'd like to say a special word of thanks to people who are here and people all across this country who have talked to me about this issue for the last couple of years. Everywhere I went where there were people who were trying to create the American economy of the future, someone would take me aside and talk about the problems of the export control laws, which may have been needed in a former period when the technology was different and certainly the politics of the cold war were different but were clearly undermining our ability to be competitive today.

If I might just by way of general introduction say that I don't believe a wealthy country can grow much richer in the world we're living in without expanding exports. I don't believe you can create jobs-and I'm absolutely convinced you can't change the job mix, which is something we have to do in America with so many people stuck in jobs that have had flat or declining real wages. I think we have to do that. And I don't think it can be done unless we can increase the volume of exports in this country.

And therefore, I have wanted to have a new export strategy that would deal with a whole range of issues and that would galvanize the energy, the imagination of the American private sector, not only those who are waiting to export now and just held back by laws but those that we need to go out and cultivate, especially small and medium sized businesses that could be active in international markets-their counterparts in other countries are active-but because of the system or, if you will, the lack of the system that we have had in the past, have not been so engaged.

So I want to emphasize that the announcements we make today are designed to create jobs for Americans, to increase incomes for Americans, and to create the future economy, even as we have to give up on much of the past.

I also want to say that it's very important to see this announcement today in the context of our administration's support for the NAFTA agreement. It will also open up export opportunities, not just to Mexico but throughout all of Latin America.

I just came from the United Nations earlier this week, where I had the opportunity to host meetings with the Latin American leaders who were there. The first thing every one of them asked me about was the NAFTA agreement. And every one of them said, "Look, we want to do this, too. We want to lower our barriers to American products. We want more American products in our country.” No one, even the most vociferous opponents of NAFTA, would seriously urge that the proposition that if we have lowered trade barriers with Chile or Argentina or any other country, that will lead to massive loss of American jobs. It will clearly lead to massive gains in American jobs.

This is an important part of a strategy to build a hemispheric trading opportunity for Americans. I also would say that anyone who has seriously looked at the NAFTA dynamics, the specifics of the NAFTA agreement will actually alleviate all the complaints that people have who are attacking it. It will raise the cost of labor in Mexico. It will raise the cost of environmental protection in Mexico. It will lower the trade barriers in Mexico that are higher than American trade barriers. It will change domestic content rules in ways that will enable us to produce in America, sell in Mexico. And that country, with a low per capita income, already buys more American products per capita than any country in the world except for Canada.

So I think that is a very important point to make. This export strategy we announced today assumes that we have people to sell to, and we have to also keep that in mind. We have to keep reaching out to tear down these barriers, to integrate our economies in ways that benefits Americans.

Let me just basically outline in some greater detail the strategy that has been recommended by our counsel and that the Vice President summarized.

As we all know, the export controls in American law today no longer reflect the realities of the economic marketplace or the political realities. The cold war is over, and the technologies have changed dramatically. Therefore, today I am ordering sweeping changes in our export controls that dramatically reduce controls on telecommunications technologies and computers. These reforms

will eliminate or greatly reduce controls on $35 billion worth of high-tech products, ultimately 70 percent of all the computers. This one step alone will decontrol the export of computers, the production of which support today-today-600,000 American jobs and

now more tomorrow.

Let me be clear. As I said at the United Nations earlier this week, I am more concerned about proliferation of weapons of mass destruction than I was when I became President. Every day I have this job, I become more worried about it. And we do need

effective export controls to fight that kind of proliferation. But streamlining unnecessary controls will make the rest of the system more responsive and efficient in combating proliferation. And we have on too many, many occasions, for too many years, not had a coordinated, effective strategy against proliferation but have had a broad-based, highly bureaucratic policy that, in effect, cut off nose to spite our face.

Our

We also know we have to simplify the export process. There are 19 different exportrelated agencies in this Government. To say that we need more effective coordination would be a dramatic understatement. The TPCC found this, as did the Vice President's National Performance Review.

We propose to begin by creating one-stop shops in four cities, consolidating all Federal export promotion services in one place. And eventually, there will be a national network of shops linked together by computer technology. We also want to have one phone number that will serve as an information clearinghouse for any exporter of any size to learn about potential export markets.

Now, let me say why I think this is so important. Most of the job growth in America is in small and medium sized companies. Now, many of those, to be sure, are supplying bigger companies; many of those are in hightech areas where they're already attuned to exports. But many of them are basically stand-alone operations that sell to companies in America and could sell to companies overseas but don't know how to do it, think it's too much hassle, haven't really figured out the financing, the paperwork, the marketopening mechanisms.

We have not done nearly as good a job as some countries in mobilizing the energies of these countries. I have been immensely impressed, for example, at the organization in Germany of the medium and small sized companies to make them all automatically exporting. And there's no question that the effort that they have made in that country to mobilize small and medium sized companies for export is one reason they've been able to maintain by far the most open economy in Europe and the lowest unemployment rate at the same time. We must do the same thing.

The third element of this strategy is meeting the challenge of tied aid. Now, for the benefit of those here covering this event who don't know what tied aid is, it basically is a strategy that many of our competitors have followed who say, if you want our aid you'll have to buy our products. We have worked hard to reach an agreement to limit the practice of tied aid, and we have had some success in the last few years. But unfortunately there is still way too much of it, in ways that cost Americans way too many dollars in jobs and export opportunities that we could win under any free market scenario imaginable. Therefore, we propose to create a modest $150 million fund within the Export-Import Bank, and with the support of Mr. Brody and others who are here today, to counter the tied aid practices of our competitors. By some estimates, our companies lose between $400 million and $800 million in export sales every year because of tied aid practices.

Next, we want to focus the Government to promote private sector exports. We want an advocacy network within the Government to facilitate the efforts of our companies and to reinforce the one-stop shopping. We want a commercial strategic plan in key foreign markets to coordinate the work of Federal Agencies there, something I heard about over and over again from the U.S. business community, for example, in Japan and in Korea.

We want to ensure that our embassies play a much more aggressive role in promoting our commercial interests in a uniform way around the world. Some of our embassies, to be fair, do a very good job of this. Some are not active at all. Most are somewhere in

the middle. We need a uniform policy and a deliberate mission on this, and I am very pleased at the support the State Department has given to this effort.

We want to unify the budget of all export promotion-related activities in the Government through a new process coordinated by the Economic Council, OMB, and the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee.

Finally, let me say what we have today at long last is a coordinated, targeted, aggressive export strategy. It means growth and jobs and incomes for Americans. Compared to our competitors, we have for too long had a hands-off approach to exports. We have paid for it. We now will have a hands-on partnership, driven by the market, guided by the private sector, limited where appropriate by governmental policy, but clearly tailored to help Americans compete and win in the world of today and tomorrow.

Many people when I started thought this would never happen, especially those frustrated computer companies who have labored under the burden of the past, because it required us to think and act anew. It required disparate agencies to cooperate that had never really spoken to each other about these matters. It required Congress to work with the executive branch. It required everyone in our Government to listen to our customers, in this case the American businesses who pay so much of the tax bill. But it is working. And we have laid the foundation for a future really worth having in this country. Now, you all have to go out and make this work. We intend to support it. We intend to do what needs to be done. And we believe that Government is now going to be a good partner with the private sector in making tomorrow's economy. Thank you very much.

I want to take a question or two. But before I do, since we have a lot of folks from the private sector here, I just want to say that one of the things we have really worked hard on in Government is getting all these— look at all the Cabinet and agency heads we have here-we really try to work together. I won't say it never happens, but we have got less turfing and less infighting than any Government, I think, that's been in this town in a very long time. And it's a great tribute to them, and I want to thank them publicly

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