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                  Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Miami, Florida)
For Immediate Release                      December 10, 1994     
                     REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

11:30 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. We have just completed the first working session of our summit on trade and economic integration. We are off to an excellent start. The 34 democratically-elected leaders of our hemisphere have agreed to establish a free trade area of the Americas. This historic step will produce real opportunities for more jobs and solid, lasting prosperity for our peoples.

The agreement is specific and concrete. We have set the year 2005 as our deadline for negotiating a free trade area, and we have agreed that there will be real progress before the end of the century. The agreement will cover a comprehensive list of areas, from tariffs on goods and services -- from tariffs on goods, to services, to agricultural and intellectual property. We have set a highly detailed timetable that will include regular meetings of our ministers for trade. Talks will begin next month.

In less than a decade, if current trends continue, this hemisphere will be the world's largest market -- more than 850 million consumers buying $13 trillion worth of goods and services. When our work is done the free trade area of the Americas will stretch from Alaska to Argentina. It is the key building block in our creation of a partnership for prosperity. It will build upon the many bilateral and multilateral agreements already existing between our nations.

We want to replace the many conflicting and different trade and other regulatory agreements with one that is consistent, while making sure to assist smaller economies in transition. We will ask the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank to assist in this transition and integration. And we have pledged that our free trade area of the Americas will not raise new barriers to nations outside our region, and will be fully consistent with the rules of the World Trade Organization. We have reaffirmed our commitment to make our individual trade and environmental policies mutually supportive and to further secure the observance and promotion of workers' rights.

Let me emphasize, none of us -- none of us -- underestimates the hard work ahead. But from the leaders of our hemisphere's largest economies to the smallest, we believe the rewards will be great and very much worth the effort. We believe the agreement we have made today to launch the free trade area of the Americas will produce more jobs, higher incomes and greater opportunities for all of our people.

From here we're going to a working lunch, where we'll discuss issues affecting sustainable development. Our final session this afternoon will focus on the steps we will take to strengthen our democracies. I can think of no more appropriate way to end this day, the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Thank you very much.

END 11:39 A.M. EST