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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 12, 1994
                            TO THE NATION

10:06 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This morning I want to talk with you about what we're doing here at home and abroad to create better jobs for our American workers, and about a breakthrough we've had in our trade talks with Japan.

Let me begin with this important news. Today we've reached an agreement that will open up Japan's cellular telephone market to high-technology products made here in America. This is a big win for everyone. Workers in the United States will gain because the agreement means more demand for cellular telephones and related equipment made in America. Japanese consumers win because they'll have access to better service and better technology at better prices. Even Japanese manufacturers may win because of the increased demand for cellular telephones.

This agreement is designed to produce results; both countries will be able to measure progress. And it demonstrates that the United States and Japan can work together to open up jobs in America by opening up markets in Japan in ways that help both Americans and Japanese.

Our trade negotiations with Japan are just one example of the challenges and opportunities that face us in this new global economy. That's why tomorrow I'll join leaders of the world's seven major industrial nations in Detroit for a conference on creating more and better jobs for our people.

For two decades, all these wealthy countries have struggled to protect the jobs of our working people and to create new jobs in an extremely competitive and rapidly changing global economy. None of us has had the success we would like. That's why I asked for this meeting. But remember this, of all the advanced nations, America is doing the best job of creating new jobs, and we should be proud. After 12 years of drift, we were able to get the deficit and interest rates and inflation down, and to get productivity and investments in growth up. As a result, our economy has generated two million new jobs in a little more than a year, and 90 percent of them are in the private sector. And if we stay with our program, when it comes to jobs, there will be two million more in 1994.

But we can't rest on this record. Too many Americans haven't yet felt the benefits of recovery. Too many middle-class Americans are still working harder for the same or lower wages. And too many lack the education and training they need to prosper in today's competitive environment.

Our trading partners all have similar problems. Advanced nations are experiencing chronic unemployment and stagnant wages. Powerful new technologies and global communications have created the most competitive world markets ever, and we must compete and win in it.

These are very serious problems. They require new ways of thinking, and no nation has all the answers. But all of us are trying, and we all have something to learn from each other. That is the purpose of the conference in Detroit.

In Detroit, I will reaffirm my belief that the global economy is not an obstacle to progress, but a great opportunity for us. We can't build walls around our nations and refuse to compete. Turning inward won't change the world or improve our jobs. Preparing for change and embracing change, however, and using it to create more high-wage jobs will do what we want to do.

That is our goal. And here's how we plan to do it. First, we'll continue to expand trade in open markets around the world. International trade is an engine for growth that creates jobs, that lifts wages. That's why we've signed more trade agreements and lowered more trade barriers this year than in any recent memory. Our commitment to opening new markets to American goods is unshakable.

Second, we must invest to develop new technologies and products like the information superhighway, or new technologies for dual use in both defense and civilian markets. And we'll continue to demonstrate that protecting the environment can be good for the economy. For example, there are hundreds of thousands of good jobs in producing clean cars and alternative fuels, and we believe those jobs should be American jobs. Sound fiscal policies at home, opening markets abroad, investing in the technologies of the future -- that's how to create more high-wage jobs.

The final piece of this puzzle is to invest in the education and skills of our people so they are prepared to fill those jobs. That's why we've already invested more in getting our children off to a good start in Headstart; in the Women's, Infant and Children Nutrition programs. That's why we've already reformed the student loan program so that all children, including children of the middle class, can afford to go to college by borrowing money at lower interest rates and paying it off as a percentage of their incomes after they get jobs.

That's why, just a few days ago, I asked Congress to discard the old unemployment and training program, which is too big, too old and too slow, and replace it with a system to retrain our workers quickly for the high-skilled jobs of tomorrow, and to link them to those jobs within weeks, not months or years.

We're pushing Congress hard to pass a safe schools act, to reduce violence in our schools and to make our children safer on the streets on the way to school. Congress now is finishing work on our Goals 2000 bill, which will establish world-class standards for educational excellence; and on our School-To-Work Initiative, which will allow our young people who don't go to college to get the skills they need to find good jobs. Each of these important measures stands a good chance of becoming law, many in just a matter of weeks.

Meeting this challenge head on is never easy. Change is always difficult. But these are things we have to do, and something we've proved we can do. Our economic policies have sparked a real recovery and begun to put our economic house in order. The Congress seems determined to continue working with me this year. Just yesterday, the House of Representatives in record time okayed our new budget. If it passes the whole Congress we will have three consecutive years of declining deficits for the first time since Harry Truman was President.

Our trade policies continue to open markets in ways that will boost exports, create jobs and share the benefits of growth. We can defeat any obstacle to change. we can create millions of highwage jobs for our people, if we have the courage to confront our problems boldly, not to be diverted or deterred, and we make a commitment to solving these problems together.

That will be my message to all the nations gathered this Monday in Detroit, and it is my commitment to all of you hearing this broadcast today.

Thank you for listening.

END10:11 A.M. EST