PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Building a Stronger Economy Through Free, Fair Trade
Opening Markets So American Workers Can Compete Abroad
The United States has just four percent of the worlds population
but 22 percent of its income; to maintain and expand our prosperity, we
must sell to the other 96 percent of the worlds people. The more
than 270 trade agreements concluded by President Clinton since he took
office have helped us do just that. These include the Information Technology
Agreement, which helps to eliminate tariffs on high technology products,
and a landmark WTO agreement that will dramatically liberalize trade in
telecommunications services. Since 1992, U.S. exports have increased 62
percent, in part due to market opening agreements like these.
Trade Has Contributed To Our Record Economic Expansion
Open markets, fiscal discipline and investments in education, health care,
science and technology, have been the foundation of our strong, non-inflationary
economic growth. Export expansion has accounted for more than one-quarter
of the record U.S. economic growth between 1992 and 1998. The American
economy has grown nearly twice as fast as those of all other G7 countries.
Real industrial production in the U.S. is up over 34% since 1992, compared
to a 4% gain for Germany and a 1 percent decline for Japan. American workers
benefit too: from 1992 to 1998, export-related jobs paid 15 percent more
on average than non-export-related jobs.
Reaching A Historic Market-Opening Agreement With China
After 13 years of negotiation, the Clinton Administration concluded an
historic trade agreement that will open Chinese markets to American goods
and hold the Chinese government to international standards. The agreement
will significantly lower Chinese tariffs, and ensure fair treatment for
both American businesses in China and American workers here at home. In
the agreement China agreed to grant the United States new access to its
markets, while the United States agreed to maintain the market access
policies we already apply to China by granting it permanent NTR. Chinas
commitments are enforceable in the WTO and include specially negotiated
rules. Highlights of the new agreement include:
- Lower tariffs on U.S. priority agricultural products: Tariffs will drop
from an average of 31% to 14% in January 2004. China will expand access
for bulk agricultural products, permit private trade in these products,
and eliminate export subsidies.
- Industrial tariffs on U.S. products will fall from an average of 25% in
1997 to an average of 9.4% by 2005.
Tariffs on information technology products such as computers, semiconductors,
and Internet related equipment will decrease from an average of 13% to
zero by 2005.
- The agreement also opens Chinas market for services, including distribution,
insurance, telecommunications, banking, professional and environmental
Supporting American Agriculture Through World Trade
American agricultural production far outpaces domestic consumption, meaning
that our farmers and ranchers rely on overseas markets to sustain their
livelihoods. The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to reach trade
agreements, including the 1994 WTO Uruguay round. These agreements have
improved market access for farmers and ranchers, reduced unfair trade
practices, preserved our right to maintain the highest possible standards
of food safety for consumers, and provided a strong and credible means
of settling disputes. Today, the United States is the world's largest
agricultural exporter, with $49 billion in exports expected this year.
We also benefit from an $11 billion agricultural trade surplus. Agricultural
exports support nearly 750,000 American jobs on and off the farm and exports
represent approximately one quarter of total U.S. agricultural production.
Putting A Human Face On The Global Economy
The United States has worked to build a new consensus on trade by urging
world trade institutions to move toward labor and the environmental standards.
President Clinton has called for a Working Group on Trade and Labor to
explore ways that can encourage countries to adopt core labor standards.
And the President ratified a historic international convention that would
ban the worst forms of child labor.
Working For A Healthy Environment And Strong Economy
President Clinton signed an Executive Order requiring careful assessment
and consideration of the environmental impacts of trade agreements, including
through detailed written reviews of major, environmentally significant
trade agreements. The President also directed trade negotiators to pursue
trade liberalization in a manner that is supportive of our commitment
to high levels of protection for the environment.
Promoting American Exports
President Clinton and Vice President Gore created America's first national
export strategy, reforming the way government works with the private sector
to expand exports. The Trade Promotion Coordination Committee has been
instrumental in improving export promotion efforts, coordinating our export
financing, implementing a government-wide advocacy initiative, and updating
market information systems and product standards education. The export
strategy is working, with the United States regaining its position as
the world's largest exporter.
Action To Help The Steel Industry
In his 1999 State of the Union speech, President Clinton reaffirmed his
commitment to vigorously enforce our trade laws to ensure that our trading
partners play by the rules saying "We must enforce our trade laws
when imports unlawfully flood our nation." Through tough enforcement
of trade laws and high-level negotiations with steel exporters, the President
was successful in turning back the surge of imports, and key exporters
have now reduced exports to pre-crisis levels. The Clinton-Gore administration
also developed and released a Steel Action Plan to prevent future crises.
Working to expand trade benefits in Africa and the Caribbean
President Clinton has worked to build new economic relationships, and
has called on Congress to pass the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and
the Caribbean Basin Trade Initiative. These agreements would broaden trade
and investment with Sub-Saharan Africa and deepen ties with our Caribbean
and Central American neighbors.