THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Auckland, New Zealand)
|For Immediate Release
||September 12, 1999
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT CEO SUMMIT BREAKFAST
New Zealand National Maritime Museum
Auckland, New Zealand
9:35 A.M. (L)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much and good morning.
Bolger, thank you for the fine introduction and for the years of
and cooperation we have enjoyed. Prime Minister Shipley, thank you for
here today and for making my family and me and our American group feel so
welcome in New Zealand.
Since this is the sort of economic engine of APEC, all of you,
do want to note that my mother-in-law and my daughter and I did our part
support the New Zealand economy yesterday, and we got some nice free press
doing it in the newspaper. I appreciate that.
I'd like to thank Jack Smith, who is up here with us, the CEO
General Motors, for his leadership, and those of the other American
leaders -- John Maasland, the CEO of APEC; Ambassador Beeman. I'd also
to thank the American team who are here with me -- our Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright; our Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky; National
Security Advisor Sandy Berger; and National Economic Advisor Gene
I am delighted to be here in Auckland for the last gathering
Asia Pacific leaders in the 20th century. We primarily deal with economic
issues, but today, if you'll forgive
me, I'd like to begin with a few comments about security issues,
because the eyes of the world today, not just in Asia, but
throughout the globe, are on East Timor, where the people voted
overwhelmingly for independence, where I believe Indonesia's
government did the right thing in supporting the vote, just as it
did the right thing in holding its own free elections earlier
Now it is clear, however, that the Indonesian military
has aided and abetted militia violence in East Timor, in
violation of the commitment of its leaders to the international
community. This has allowed the militias to murder innocent
people, to send thousands fleeing for their lives, to attack the
United Nations compound.
The United States has suspended all military
cooperation, assistance and sales to Indonesia. I have made
clear that my willingness to support future economic assistance
from the international community will depend upon how Indonesia
handles the situation from today forward.
We are carefully reviewing all our own economic and
commercial programs there. The present course of action is
imperiling Indonesia's future, as well as that of the individual
The Indonesian government and military must not only
stop what they are doing, but reverse course. They must halt the
violence not just in Dili, but throughout the nation. They must
permit humanitarian assistance and let the U.N. mission do its
job. They must allow the East Timorese who have been pushed from
their homes to return safely. They must implement the results of
the balloting, and they must allow an international force to help
restore security. We are ready to support an effort led by
Australia to mobilize a multinational force to help to bring
security to East Timor under U.N. auspices.
We all have a great deal at stake in the resolution of
this crisis. We have a strong interest in seeing an Indonesia
that is stable, prosperous and democratic. The largest Muslim
country in the world, a nation where soldiers are honored for
their commitment to defend the people, not to abuse them -- all
of that has been called into question in the last few days. We
don't want to see the will of the people overturned by violence
and intimidation. And because the U.N. helped to organize the
vote in East Timor we have a special responsibility to help to
see it through, to stand up to those who now break their promises
to the international community.
It is not just the people of East Timor who deserve a
democratic future, though they do. It is not just the people of
Indonesia who have embraced their own choices in a free election,
though they, too, deserve a democratic future. We must help both
the people of East Timor and the democratic process in Indonesia
because the world community seeks to have the integrity of
democracy protected everywhere. And today, again I say the eyes
of the world are on that tiny place, and on those poor innocent,
I would also like to say just a couple of other words
about security issues. I will meet here with President Kim and
Prime Minister Obuchi to discuss peace and reconciliation on the
Korean Peninsula. The people of North Korean need food and
opportunities. They need engagement with the south and the
chance for a brighter future. They do not need new weaponry that
threatens the security of the region and the world.
I would also like to say a word about China and the
present tensions between China and Taiwan. The United States has
enjoyed friendly relations with both China and Taiwan for some
years now. Our policy has been rooted in our commitment to one
China, our commitment to a peaceful resolution of the differences
between China and Taiwan, our commitment to continuously
expanding the cross-strait dialogue. We have a clear policy
enunciated in the three communiques and in our Taiwan Relations
I reaffirmed to President Jiang yesterday, and I will
do what I can to support while I am here and after I leave here,
the proposition that these peoples have too much at stake in a
peaceful future, benefitting all their -- all -- their children
to let the present difficulties deteriorate into a confrontation
in which, in the end, all would suffer. I hope all of you, to
the extent you can, will reaffirm that course.
Let me say that, returning to economics, this is a much
happier occasion than the last APEC meeting. I think the uniform
of the day for the businesspeople sort of illustrates that.
(Laughter.) Last year, you might have met in straightjackets.
(Laughter.) But economies that were going downhill then now seem
to be clearly on the road to recovery.
Just for example, South Korea's industry has produced
30 percent more this June than last. Its economy is expected to
grow at least 6.5 percent this year. All over the region key
stock markets are now above pre-crisis levels, currencies are
stronger, workers are going back to work.
And for every one of you that had something to do with
this recovery, I want to express my thanks: To the businesses
that had to tighten their belts, but pressed ahead. To the
governments that had to pursue difficult, but vital reforms. To
the international community which mobilized over $100 billion in
assistance and applied it wisely. To the countries which, like
the United States, kept our markets open to keep the crisis from
becoming worse and to help it turn around more quickly.
Still the consequences of the last couple of years have
been quite severe. Far too many people lost their jobs, their
businesses and their dreams. There are longstanding concerns
about stability, openness, human rights and the environment which
Therefore, the main thing I want to say about economics
today is that this is not a time for complacency. There is still
hard work to be done and a great deal to be won on the eve of
this new millennium.
Here in Auckland, we should put APEC's weight behind
the new trade round to be launched at the WTO meeting in Seattle.
We should continue to reform the global financial architecture.
We must work together to promote stability, as well as peace.
We, in the United States, knew when this crisis started
that we had to work in all these ways. We have worked on the
global financial architecture. We have worked to try to promote
a new round of world trade. We also, remembering the awful
experience of the Great Depression, worked hard to keep our
markets open. For the first half of 1999, our trade deficit was
more than double what it was in the first half of 1997.
But I think it is clear that that decision, even though
it's somewhat controversial in the United States, was the right
decision for American workers and for American businesses because
we always need to be looking at the long-term and the prospects
of creating a global economy in which there is more trade, not
With 45 percent of the world's trade, the APEC nations
have a vital interest in whether we take this direction or not.
We can lead the way to a stronger, fairer, world trade system
just as we did with the information technology agreement three
years ago with APEC. Our APEC ministers already have backed an
ambitious trade agenda; now it's time for the leaders to follow
When we get to Seattle, we should then try to make
APEC's agenda the world's agenda. We should be committed
strongly to dramatic increase of market access in agricultural,
industrial, and service areas. We should be committed to
reaching some other agreements along the way during the process
of the trade round -- for example, to keep the Information
Superhighway free of tolls, with a permanent moratorium on
electronic commerce duties -- to improve openness in government
procurement, to speed up tariff liberalization in all the key
areas we've identified.
And I also believe we should be committed to completing
the entire round within three years. Our citizens shouldn't have
to wait any longer for governments to get a job like this done.
A strong world trading system is good for all the
nations of the region. It is certainly good for the United
States, where about a third of our economic growth came from
expanded trade until the Asian financial crisis. Over a third of
our agricultural products are exported. One in ten of our jobs
depends on exports; millions more depend on our ability to
import. In our country, we have had remarkable growth with low
inflation, thanks in no small measure to greater competition.
The world trading system will be even more beneficial
as more nations commit to play by its rules. Yesterday, I had a
very good meeting with President Jiang. And China and the United
States reaffirmed our commitment to China's entry into the WTO on
commercially viable terms. I hope we can make it happen soon. I
want to assure you -- every one of you -- that we are working
hard to make it happen soon.
I also believe strongly that our world trading system
will grow in popular support if it supports our values. And I
mean values that are generally shared by civilized nations across
cultural, religious and regional lines. Twice in the last year
or so, I have gone to Geneva to talk about a world trading system
for the 21st century, and the importance of honoring our values
when it comes to labor, when it comes to the environment, when it
comes to the openness with which powerful bodies make their
Just as we will continue to enforce our trade laws at
home to ensure fair competition, we will continue to address what
I believe are commitments all of our people really want us to
embrace -- to decent working conditions and to the health of the
This will not be, however, about erecting new barriers,
but about lifting the lives of all people. I am very pleased,
for example, that the delegates at the International Labor
Organization unanimously adopted a convention banning the worst
forms of child labor.
I am encouraged by our common commitment to address the
challenge of global warming. Let me say this is still a very
contentious issue among some developing and some developed
countries. There are many developing countries that honestly
believe that developed countries will used the whole climate
change debate as a way of slowing economic opportunity for people
in developing countries.
I completely disagree with that. Those who hold this
view believe that the only way to grow an economy in the 21st
century is with the same energy use patterns we saw in the 20th
century. But if you talk to Mr. Smith -- and, Jack, I read your
press in the morning paper today -- and what did he say? He said
there are three dramatic changes going on in the automobile
industry. One is in commerce -- GM sells its first car in Taiwan
over the Internet. Two is that cars are becoming automated
information, communications, and entertainment systems,
self-contained. And three is that the internal combustion engine
is being changed in fundamental ways. And before we know it,
will be both blended-fuel and alternative-fuel vehicles which
will be emitting far less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,
in ways that accelerate economic growth rather than diminish it.
So I'm going on -- as you can see, I'm not looking at
my text here, this is something I really believe. One of the
central -- the world works by adherence to our departure from big
ideas. And we organize ourselves around them, and then people
like you do real well when you figure out how to improve on them,
modify them, find a little niche in which to move. But if stay
with a big idea that's wrong too long, no matter how good the
rest of our creativity is, we all get in trouble. And no matter
how hard we work, we get in trouble because we work harder and
harder and harder at the wrong things.
So I just want to say -- I only get to make one more of
these speeches and then I'll be gone. (Laughter.) I'll be an
ex-big idea, right? It will be over. (Laughter.) One of the
big ideas the world has to abandon is the idea that the only way
to build a modern prosperous economy is with the industrial
energy use patterns of a former era. It is not true.
And when you look at the future of China, when you look
at the future of India, when you look at all the other developing
economies, and you imagine what you can do with the cell phone,
with the Internet and with alternative energy development, a lot
of very poor places in Africa and Asia and other parts of the
world can skip a whole generation of economic development unless
we stay in chains to a big idea that is no longer true.
I hope you will help to lead the way to bring the
developing and the developed countries together around finding
new technologies that will both improve the economy and the
environment at the same time.
Finally, let me say, I am very grateful that there is a
growing recognition that the world trading system and the WTO
itself should be more open and accountable. I think this is
very, very important. I think that there's a lot of controversy
about it from time to time on the specifics, but in the end,
greater accountability and greater openness and greater
involvement of all elements of society in these decision-makings
will build greater support for a global economic system.
I'd like to say just a few words about the global
economic architecture, if I might. I think there's a real danger
that I sense growing of people to say, well, things are fine now;
we don't need to continue to do anything about the economic of
the financial architecture. I think that's a mistake.
The Asian financial crisis came after a high tide of
capital washed into the region, often highly leveraged, flowing
quickly into countries without adequate risk assessment. When
the tide receded just as rapidly, if not more rapidly, it left
behind a legacy of mounting debt, devaluation and severe
For us in the United States, the crisis underscored our
tremendous stake in the stability and success of Asia. It
demonstrated how closely tied our economies had become. And as
our Asian markets dried up, our companies, our banks, our
workers, our farmers clearly felt the effects.
We've been seeking new ways to help the international
system moderate the cycle of boom and bust in much the way that
individual economies have learned to do since the Great
Depression. We are working more closely to make sure that all,
including the developing economies, have a seat at the table,
through new mechanisms like the financial stability forum. I
just want to urge you all to keep this progress on course.
Emerging economies, of course, have work to do -- they
still have to continue to restructure their banking systems, make
their corporations more accountable, reduce reliance on
short-term loans, encourage greater direct investment. Creditor
nations must improve our own financial supervision and regulation
so investors will assess risks more carefully and banks will lend
The IMF now has special financing available to help a
country head off a financial contagion -- something we in the
United States worked very hard to set up -- provided the country
has maintained responsible economic policies. We must continue
to develop such tools.
Working with the World Bank and the Asian Development
Bank, we must also strengthen safety nets so people have
unemployment insurance and job training, so that impoverished
children are not the first and hardest-hit victims of an economic
We must, in short, continue our efforts to put a human
face on the global economy -- not because it is charity, but
because it is the right thing to do from a humane, as well as
from an economic standpoint. It is essential to the long-term
success of the market. An active role for government is
important not to restrain competition or to dictate the flow of
investment, but to ensure fair dealing and a level playing field.
New Zealand is leading efforts to broaden competition
in domestic markets. The United States and other APEC partners
are working with the private sector across the region to make it
easier to move goods and services across borders. Our economies
will work even better when we have stronger standards for
disclosure by businesses and governments.
One of our leaders made a comment the other day that I
kind of wished I had made because I thought it was so clever.
Speaking of the broad consensus for greater openness, President
Estrada said, "Now, when Alan Greenspan and the common people
have the same view, we should listen." (Laughter.) I don't know
whether Mr. Greenspan liked that, but I liked it very much.
Let me say in one last point, I think more openness,
more honesty, more responsibility in our business dealings gives
us a more supportive political system and, therefore, gives us
better economic results. I don't believe nations can reap the
full benefits of the technology revolution if the free flow of
information is curbed, for example. I think entrepreneurs and
investors will flee nations where the most lucrative deals are
made in secret, where contracts aren't honored, where courts
aren't fair, where creativity is stifled, where there are
grievous worker complaints.
Instead, I think they will be drawn to countries where
there's fairness and openness and freedom, good education system
and broad participation in the prosperity of the nation. These
things are important to all of us.
So I say I'm glad you're here in these relaxed jackets
instead of straightjackets this year. I'm grateful for what all
of you have done to support APEC and its trade liberalization
agenda and, specifically, to help lead the nations of Asia out of
its financial crisis. But there is still a great deal for us to
do together to expand trade, to strengthen the financial
architecture, to strengthen the conditions among and within
nations for success of the global economy with a human face, and
to provide the basic framework of security without which
economies cannot grow freely.
On balance, I think one would have to be quite
optimistic looking toward the new millennium. But I think we
also would have to be quite sober in the price that we will pay
if any of us should fail to fulfill our responsibility. If we
work hard at the right things, our children will live in a much
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
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