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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 4, 1994


         President Clinton Receives Letter from 450 Economists 
             Urging Prompt Ratification of GATT Agreement; 
                  Welcomes Support For Quick Passage

     President Clinton received a letter today from 446 economists

urging Congress to approve the Uruguay Round agreement immediately. Professor Bob Baldwin of the University of Wisconsin delivered the letter to Vice President Gore and CEA Chair Laura Tyson meeting in the Old Executive Office Building this morning.

President Clinton welcomed their support, saying "Economists know that the GATT agreement will help ensure long-term economic growth for America. GATT will add as much as $100 to $200 billion to the United States economy every year when fully implemented. That means hundreds of thousands of new jobs for American workers. Congress should pass GATT now so that the American people can begin to reap the benefits of expanded world trade as soon as possible."

In their letter, the economists warned against postponing ratification of the agreement until next year:

"We believe that implementing this legislation will provide substantial benefits to most Americans. Postponing the legislation until 1995 will delay these benefits and will burden the efforts of U.S. firms to expand their foreign markets. Delay will also weaken the international leadership position of the United States."

Three of the economists signing the letter had also signed the famous 1930 letter to President Hoover that warned against passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The President expressed his appreciation for their counsel:

"In his NAFTA debate last year, Vice President Gore made clear that the Smoot Hawley Act sharply increased U.S. tariffs and helped touch off the Great Depression. More than sixty years ago, these three men were wise enough to champion free trade and economic growth in the face of tremendous public opposition. We should heed their advice today and pass the GATT now."

Four Nobel laureates in economics signed the letter: Robert Solow, Paul Samuelson, Kenneth Arrow, and James Tobin.