THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Seattle, Washington) ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release November 18, 1993
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT UPON ARRIVAL Boeing Field Seattle, Washington
2:50 P.M. PST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Governor Lowry and Mayor Rice, Chairman Schronz, ladies and gentlemen. I thought I ought to bring Air Force One home. And I'm glad to be back here myself and I do love this town. Seattle has been wonderful to me. The state of Washington has been good to me. Without your support I would not have been able to take office as President and to work every day to keep the commitments I made to the American people to try to change this country for the better.
I want to thank you especially today for all the work that you and this city have done, and all the work people throughout this state have done to help this Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting come off as well as sit has. Everyone says you've been a wonderful host. I thank you and your nation thanks you. (Applause.)
Frank noted that a number of my Cabinet members came here with me today, along with Congressman Norm Dicks and Heather Foley, the wife of House Speaker Tom Foley. I wanted to say also that Senator Patty Murray had planned to come home with me today. I invited her here. And I want you to know why she's not here. She's not here because she is in Washington fighting to pass a crime bill that keeps in the ban on assault weapons to make our streets safer. I'm proud of her for doing that. (Applause.)
You know, I've been to this wonderful city for many reasons. I came here as a governor to a Governors Conference. I've been here on vacation. I came here many times asking your help to become President. Today I come on a truly historic mission, for this is the first meeting ever of the leaders of the nations of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation group. I'll have a chance to meet with the Prime Minister of Japan, the President of China, the leaders of the other nations in this group. We'll be able to talk about regional economics and political developments. We'll be focusing on what we can do to help our own people.
Make no mistake about it: Ultimately, this meeting is about the jobs, the incomes and the futures of the American people; about exhorting American leadership in a world where there isn't a lot of growth now, so jobs are not secure, incomes are stagnant in every wealthy country on Earth. The only way we can turn this around now is to have more growth not only in America, but throughout the world.
With all of the difficulties we have today, our economy is growing more than Europe's economy. It is growing faster today than Japan's economy. Our problem in America today and Boeing's problem today is that there's not enough growth in the world economy, so people don't have enough money to buy these airplanes. And we're going to change that, beginning at this meeting for the Pacific region. I know we can do that. (Applause.)
America's workers are still the world's most productive. America can compete and win all over the world in all markets, if only given a fair chance and if there are sensible partnerships to promote growth. People cannot spend money they do not have.
So we come here today, hoping to drive down trade barriers, open up trade opportunities, and promote more growth. Seattle has long seen itself as the portal of the Pacific. Today, it is the portal to the Asian Pacific region -- the world's fastest-growing economy, the largest region in our world in terms of population, with enormous potential for American prosperity and new partnerships for peace and freedom and democracy.
Washington exports more per person than any other state in our nation. And over 80 percent of those exports go to the Asian Pacific region. You know that. You know also that Boeing is America's largest exporter, and that no country in the world better exemplifies -- no company in the world better exemplifies the potential of worldwide economic partnerships to create opportunity for people right here at home in America.
I'm proud that I worked with the Transportation Secretary and the Commerce Secretary and others in my administration to see that your aircraft get full and fair consideration in the global market. Someone sort of made fun of me the other day. They said, you know, President Clinton is almost like a rug merchant out there selling American products. Well, I'm not ashamed that I've asked other countries to buy Boeing and I'll do it again if given half the chance. (Applause.)
I was so pleased this week that Boeing reached an agreement with Gulf Air based in Bahrain to sell six of your new 777 wide-body planes with an option to purchase another six -- an agreement that could be worth $2 billion. I was pleased to read in the paper today of Boeing's agreement with Southwest Airlines. I think you all know we're working on other sales in the Middle East. And I'm also proud to say that I am delighted that Boeing was selected as the prime contractor for our America's Space Station -- something I worked hard to save from the budget axe in the last session of Congress. (Applause.) That's another global partnership because now we're going to develop that space station in partnership with the Russians in further pursuit of peace and global economic prosperity.
And finally, I want to say a special word of thanks to Congressman Norm Dicks for his initiative in getting Congress to initiate a new airlift initiative to supplement our present airlift capacity and replace some of our old planes by buying off-the-shelf commercial airlines, like the 747. I commend Norm Dicks for that initiative. It can save the Defense Department money and put people in Washington State to work. (Applause.)
I ask you here to continue your resolve in the face of adversity to be an example to the rest of our nation, that we can compete and win in this global economy.
As Frank said, and as Governor Lowry and Mayor Rice noted, we've just come through a tough fight in the Congress where good people on both sides argued about what was best for the working families of America. I did everything I could for 12 years to advance the cause of working people as a governor. I ran for president because I thought we could expand the horizons of young people and preserve the American Dream and make a strength out of our diversity in the nation as you have done in Seattle. That's why I ran.
This debate over NAFTA was very profitable, very productive, but sometimes very painful because some of the best friends I ever had were on the other side of that debate. And they were on the other side because they were tired of seeing Americans work harder for lower wages to pay higher prices for health care, housing, and education to have less security in their basic lives. That was a genuine fear that should be honored by every person in public life today. Those are the fears we have to answer.
I disagreed on the solution because I believe that the only way a rich country can grow richer is to find more customers for its products and services. In the absence of that we cannot continue to grow.
We are getting more and more productive as we have to do to compete. But what does that mean? That means fewer people can produce more things. If fewer people produce more things and you still want more jobs at higher incomes, there must be more customers. There is no alternative.
But make no mistake about it, my fellow Americans, the fight over NAFTA shows us the best of both sides. The winning side was right; we ought to expand our trade, we've got to bring down trade barriers, we have to reach out to the rest of the world. We need a partnership, not only with Mexico, but with all of Latin America -- 700,000 million people plus in a giant trading cooperative partnership. We need that. But we also need to guarantee every American working family the education and training they need, the investment in their communities they need, the security of health care that can never be taken away, and an economic policy dedicated to growing jobs and raising incomes and benefiting the ordinary citizens of this country. That is what we have to do. (Applause.)
Our economic strategy is simple, direct, and I think correct: Put our own economic house in order, enable our people to compete and win in the global economy, and find more markets for our products and services. Just in the last 10 months the United States Congress has enacted an historic plan that has brought interest rates down to record lows, kept inflation down, increased investment, permitted millions of Americans to refinance their homes, and created more jobs in the private sector in the last 10 months than in the previous four years. It is not nearly enough, but it's a darn good beginning, and we're glad to have it. (Applause.)
We must now move on to invest in education and training and new technologies, and helping us to win from downsizing defense by converting to domestic technologies and opening the world to those markets. We can do it. And that's what this meeting is all about. So I say to you, again, you have helped America to make history here in Seattle.
The meeting of the leaders of the Asian Pacific region, if we make
wise decisions and if we begin a long-term, disciplined partnership for
growth and opportunity, can create jobs here and jobs across the
Pacific; can raise incomes here and give hope to people who never had
it all across the largest ocean on the globe. We can do this. And
when we do, I hope you will always take pride in knowing that it began
here in Washington, America's trading state, America's model for the
future, in a town that's been awfully good to me and is now a wonderful
example for the entire United States
Thank you very much, and God bless you all. (Applause.)
3:02 P.M. PST